It’s the Earmarks

Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham and COO Tim Chapman have written a piece for the Daily Caller about Congress’s earmark faltering. Some in Congress believe that miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) do not count as earmarks, and want to include them in legislation moving forward:

“Republicans included “limited” MTBs in the earmark definition because the process of requesting an MTB, the lobbyist involvement and potential for corruption, are similar. Alarmingly, the Ways and Means Committee is asking lawmakers to self-certify that their requests are not in violation of the very specific language of the moratorium. It is a nearly impossible task for small congressional offices, which must then rely on the assertions of the very lobbyists whose companies would benefit from the sought-after MTB.

“The damage MTB’s are causing to the earmark moratorium is clear. Even as members of the Ways and Means Committee make the argument that the MTB bill does not reopen the earmark ban, House Appropriators Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and appropriations cardinal Jack Kingston (R-GA) are making the argument in the press that it does open up the moratorium.

“Still others are clamoring to scrap the moratorium altogether. In a closed-door conference, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) advocated a return to earmarking, something he said was ‘very well embraced’ by his GOP colleagues.

“Unfortunately, the old bulls have turned the current legislative fight over tariffs into a proxy battle over earmarks. And regardless of where conservatives stand on MTBs, there can be no doubt that opening up the earmark moratorium would have wide-ranging consequences on both policy and politics.”

Read the full OpEd here.

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