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Democratic Lawmakers in House, Senate Suggest Resurrecting Earmarks

Democrats are floating the idea of reinstating budgetary earmarks as a way to build support for funding the government on time, but some of their Republican counterparts are skeptical.

“I don’t know who’s going to be in the majority next year,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on  C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program on Friday.

“Obviously, I hope Democrats are. But whoever it is, I want to continue to do this,” Leahy said, speaking of the bipartisan comity the Senate has fostered for the fiscal 2019 budget process. “We can do it if we want to.”

Earmarks, which were banned under House rules in 2010, allow taxpayer money to be directed to special interests and projects in members’ districts through the budget.

Leahy said that having members of Congress backing pet projects—earmarks—that are included in must-pass spending legislation would be an easier way to pass spending legislation.

“If somebody proposes something, they’ve got to have their name on it, and we’ve got to vote on it,” Leahy said. “But I’ve never understood why the Congress has the power of the purse, we won’t really say how it’s spent. We’ll just turn this over to whoever’s in the White House, Republican or Democrat.”

A pair of Republican lawmakers who serve with Leahy on the Senate Appropriations Committee aren’t as supportive of bringing earmarks back.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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