The era of congressional pork-barreling may return if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeds in gathering enough support to revive congressional earmarks.
In an interview with The Huffington Post
, Reid said he already knows of senior members of the GOP who would support restoring the power for lawmakers to attach proposals for local appropriations, often to unrelated legislation, allowing them to grab public funds for their constituencies.
"I have never backed down from my support of congressionally directed spending," Reid told the website. "That's our constitutional obligation and duty. I do not believe that the White House should make all these decisions. I am proud of all the earmarks I have gotten for the state of Nevada. They'll come back — it's only a question of time because that's our constitutional obligation."
House Republicans banned the practice in 2010, arguing it was being abused by the leadership, who often used it to reward or punish members of their own party to keep them in line on other legislative voting decisions.
Reid told The Huffington Post that he has spoken to a number of GOP lawmakers, including "a very senior member of the House Republican caucus," who support his position. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin also supports an earmark revival and has discussed it with the White House, while freshmen Republicans in the House have petitioned Speaker John Boehner to reconsider his opposition to it, the website reported.
But Boehner has not signaled any appetite to change the status quo and conservatives are also opposed to it.
"Harry Reid has been spending too much time hanging out with lobbyists at the Ritz here in D.C. and not enough time meeting with actual voters in both parties who revile and despise the practice," Barney Keller, a spokesman for the conservative Club for Growth, told The Huffington Post.
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