Earmark Ban Likely to Become Earmark Reform

Wednesday, 05 Jan 2011 01:41 PM

By Dan Weil

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While Republicans in Congress have adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarks, that’s not going to be an easy promise to keep. A Politico survey of senators shows that very few think earmarks are going away anytime soon.

earmarks, GOP, Cornyn, AlexanderThat includes Sen. John Cornyn (pictured), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Most people think we need earmark reform — not a ban; that’s why our conference voted for a moratorium,” he says. “But it’s plainly [gotten] out of control, and we need to restore some self-discipline and some transparency so the people can be assured we are spending our money wisely.”

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the No. 3 leader in the Senate Republican Conference expresses caution. “Earmarks are still a subject that we have to work out,” he tells Politico.

“A moratorium is a good idea so members of Congress understand exactly what an earmark is. They are finding out that some of the things we call earmarks we need to do. But there is no way to tell anyone that — you just have to find out for yourself; that’s what you do for the next year or two.”

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