As we’ve noted several times this year, there is a concerted effort to overturn the earmark ban in the House and reinstate some form of this onerous practice. Some conservatives might fall prey to the argument that we should focus our attention on the big-ticket items rather than the chump change that is spent on earmarks. That would be a serious mistake.
If the practice of earmarking is allowed to return to the House, we will never limit the size of government when presented with the opportunity during votes on the “big bills.” Everyone knows that it’s politically uncomfortable for a member to turn down a popular earmark for his/her district. Once earmarks are allowed to return to the legislative process, they will be used as bribes – what Senator Coburn refers to as “true insider trading” – to grease the skids of big-government legislation.
Hence, a handful of $5 million earmarks will be used to peel off conservative votes in an effort to pass the farm bill, highway bill, or numerous omnibus spending bills that contain hundreds of billions in government growth. It’s this multiplying factor that has helped grow the size of government over the past few decades.
Sensing that support for the earmark ban had begun to wane, Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) spearheaded an effort to galvanize rank-and-file members to declare their public support for a permanent earmark ban. 57 members were willing to go on record in support for a permanent ban in the form of a letter to House GOP leadership. You can view the letter and those who signed it here.
Earmarking is an issue that Speaker Boehner has consistently showed leadership by refusing to compromise on any form of special interest favors. We worked too long and hard to regress on this issue. Please ask your members to sign the letter and urge Speaker Boehner to continue opposing earmarks as long as he serves as Speaker.
Remember, if members lack the courage to say no to these tiny expenditures, how on earth will they have the guts to enact entitlement reform?
Cross-posted from The Madison Project