House Democrats Ban Earmarks to Corporations

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seeking to bolster Congress’ miserable public image, House Democrats have proposed banning earmarks—the allocation of federal dollars to specific projects or recipients without a public hearing—to private businesses. Democrats want to demonstrate they are serious about cleaning up the pay-to-play reputation in Washington, especially after a recent investigation reported the existence of a “widespread perception” that businesses must contribute to political campaigns if they want special breaks from lawmakers.

The ban on earmarks could save more than a billion dollars in the annual budget. But implementing such a restriction could prove difficult. Democrats in the Senate reacted coolly to the idea, and without the upper house’s buy-in, the House ban would lead to difficult negotiations between the two houses of Congress when it comes time to pass a budget.
Also, House Republicans refused to be left out of the gamesmanship to repair a “broken” Washington. They offered a ban on all earmarks, not just those awarded to corporations. This would include non-profit organizations, universities, local governments and other recipients.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Leaders in House Block Earmarks to Corporations (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
Earmark Ban Ruffles Feathers (by Jake Sherman and Jen Dimascio, Politico)


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