The end of earmarks?

November 5, 2010

John Boehner, the soon-to-be speaker of the house, was calling for an end to “earmarking as we know it” prior to his Tuesday night victory in Ohio.

On the Thursday after the election, Boehner sat down with Bret Baier of Fox News. For the video and full transcript of the interview, please click here.

Notably, the discussion included the following exchange:

BOEHNER: There’s going to be an earmark moratorium, it’s pretty clear.

BAIER: Why not an outright ban?

BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn’t — wouldn’t classify as an earmark to the American people. I’ve made it pretty clear; this process is going to stop.

As you’re well aware, I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve never asked for an earmark. And I’m never going to ask for one. I told my constituents in 1990 when they elected me that if they thought my job was to come to Washington and rob the public treasury on their behalf, they were voting for the wrong guy.

I said it. I meant it. And I’ve been committed to reforming this process from the day I got here. And over the last five years, I’ve spent countless hours trying to make sure that we spend the American people’s money wisely.

Though Boehner has never requested an earmark in his legislative history, some of his Republican counterparts have not shown such self-restraint.  While earmarks may be off the table – and this is no doubt laudable –there is reason to be skeptical that fiscal sanity is in our near future.

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