House Dems Ban Some Earmarks

Thursday, March 11, 2010

House Democrats banned earmarks on for-profit companies yesterday. Republicans responded by asking that earmarks be banned across the board.

"The time has come for House Republicans to adopt an immediate, unilateral moratorium on all earmarks," Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, along with nine other Republican leaders, said in a statement.

The Associated Press reports that lawmakers can insert earmarks, or federal funding set aside for particular projects, into annual spending bills. Examples include grants to police departments, improvements to military bases, and research grants for home-district colleges. Some groups which receive earmarks return the favor with campaign contributions.

"For-profit earmarks are really where the rubber meets the road as far as corruption," Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers for Common Sense, told The AP. Ellis' group found last year's defense appropriations bill contained 1,720 earmarks worth $4.2 billion.

The New York Times reports that Congress has been trying to curb the abuse of earmarks for three years.

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