House and Senate Republicans agreed to a two-year ban of earmarks in November 2010. But now some of the GOP members of Congress are having second thoughts, The Hill reports
They want the moratorium to be reconsidered after the 2012 election, when the GOP may control both chambers of Congress. Sentiment is mixed on the issue.
Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have introduced a bill to wipe out earmarks permanently. Last week, 13 Republican senators voted against it. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has used earmarks extensively over the years to help his home state of Kentucky, quietly voted to approve it.
But others are concerned about the bill. “It’s a cessation of a constitutional power of Congress,” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Budget Committee’s ranking Republican, told The Hill.
The White House shouldn’t have spending power over their states and districts, Sessions and other Republicans argue.
“What we agreed to do, and I think on balance it was a good policy, was have a moratorium for this Congress, which we have done and with which we are complying, and then revisit the issue,” Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker told The Hill. So Republicans should indeed consider lifting the moratorium at the end of next year, he said.
But there is one powerful Republican who remains strongly in favor of maintaining the prohibition: House Speaker John Boehner.
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