How reintroducing earmarks could help fix Congress

How reintroducing earmarks could help fix Congress
Sausage (Image: stevepb/Pixabay)

[Ed. – Something tells us the author would have written a very different column if Republicans controlled the Senate and decided to restore the practice of sausage making.]

Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid despised the word “earmarks.” He insisted on using the less colorful but more precise term “congressionally directed spending.” Either way, what he was addressing was the practice by members of Congress of inserting into spending bills instructions that direct funds to projects designed to benefit their states or congressional districts. Reid told me that members of Congress knew better the needs of their constituencies than bureaucrats who would dispense money according to a federal formula. But in the aftermath of a number of revelations of abuses of earmarking, House Republicans in 2011 abolished the practice and the Senate followed suit. But after a decade of banishment, the earmarks are about to make a comeback and I, for one, think it’s a great idea.

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