House Republican leaders were serious when they promised to hold Democrats accountable for ignoring the request for an immediate earmark moratorium. The first test will come tomorrow when Minority Leader John Boehner and Whip Roy Blunt plan to force an earmark reform vote on the higher education authorization bill.
The legislation, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act, is viewed by taxpayer watchdogs as a slush fund for colleges and universities. Boehner said it would serve as a good opportunity to put politicians to the test on earmarks.
It’s become evident to the American people, as well as a good many of us in Congress, that the system Congress uses to dole out earmarks is badly broken and in need of thorough, fundamental reform. Unfortunately, it’s also evident that Democrats in Congress have demonstrated neither the will nor the appetite to work with Republicans in bringing about that change voluntarily. So it’s incumbent upon us to use every opportunity available to speak up for the millions of Americans who have had enough.
Following their retreat in West Virginia last month, House Republicans called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues to bring the earmarking process to an immediate halt and establish a panel to identify ways to permanently change the spending process. A measure introduced by Reps. Jack Kingston of Georgia, Frank Wolf of Virginia and Zack Wamp of Tennessee has 129 cosponsors.
Republicans gave Pelosi a deadline of Feb. 1 to respond. When she failed to do so, Boehner said it was tantamount to rejecting the GOP’s offer and he promised to explore other ways to reform the earmarking process.