Halloween is over and you would be forgiven for thinking that you wouldn’t have to see any more zombie movies this year. Unfortunately, many of this nation’s more hideous are about to rise from the grave. These ghouls will be haunting our world, even though we have done everything in our power to resist them.
Rewind to a decade ago. Former Speaker John Boehner led the way, as Congress decided to get rid of earmarks. This allowed for a significant reduction when it came to pork-barrel politics. Shockingly enough, the Republicans and the Democrats were both able to get behind the idea and the general public was on board, too.
Joe Biden is about to make his return now and things are going to change. The Democrats are clinging to a slight majority in the House. To make matters even worse, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is claiming that the earmarks are going to return. Of course, he is going to act like this is a common thing that we all expected to take place.
Roll Call has the scoop. “I don’t expect it to be a partisan effort. Now that doesn’t mean that everybody does participate,” [Hoyer] says. “But I know there are a lot of Republicans on our side and a lot of Republicans on the Senate side who want to . . . have the ability to invest in their states.” The report also contained some additional claims that should terrify informed Americans.
“Democrats and Republicans have been talking about bringing back earmarks since just after Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, added a ban to House GOP rules in 2011. Senate Democrats followed a few months later with the support of President Barack Obama.
Senate Republicans made their earmark prohibition permanent last year, but several party members, including Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., support bringing the practice back,” reads the Roll Call report. The description that they have come up with is pretty cute, too. All they want to do is “give people the ability to invest in their states”.
It sounds nice on paper but the reality is something completely different. When the swamp creatures were running Washington, DC, this is the sort of song and dance that we always got used to hearing. To be very clear here, we are talking about both parties. The earmark system is corrosive by nature.
The reality of the matter is simple: each state receives a sizable amount of funding each year from the federal government. These funds are doled out for any number of reasons. No one member of any chamber should ever have discretion over how the funds are spent. The decisions are made as a governing body when everyone is given the chance to weigh in.
Those “investments” that were discussed earlier? They are actually cash payments that are designed to buy off reluctant members when it is time to vote. This doesn’t sound like a great usage of the taxpayers’ money, does it? Earmarked funds like these end up being used to curry favor for various local interests and they also line the pockets of party cronies, in the form of projects that are also funded by the taxpayer.
Satirists and comedians have had a wealth of material for years. When you see studies that have an obvious answer, this practice is responsible. The local leaders who are always building bridges that don’t actually lead anywhere are also funded by these types of shenanigans. Once earmarks were finally removed from the legislative process, this trimmed the spending and allowed us to cut the fat.
The Democrats are prepared to belly up to the bar once again, though. Sadly, there are more than enough GOP members who are willing to go along with the scheme. Americans who are watching all of this play out are not going to have much of a reason to be optimistic about the next four years, that is for sure.