Earmarks, as a practice, are not evil. They allow members of congress to direct federal funds to where they think those funds can have the best outcome. On its face, that's what they SHOULD be doing. But that's not how it works. Too often, earmarks are funneled to politically favored businesses and donors as payback for their support. It's bullshit and maddening and a justifiably hated practice.
So, the Democratic leadership, bruised by criticism of recent "pork laden" spending bills, is doing something about it. Or they're at least proposing to do something about it. Or they're saying their going to propose doing something about it. Or...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have just released a list of new reforms they say they plan to push this year. Politico has the shortlist:
-- The White House would have 20 days to review earmark requests and voice objections.
-- Non-profits would be required, for the first time, to bid competitively for earmarks.
That's in addition to previously -announced proposals, including:
-- a one percent cap on earmarks.
-- beefed-up online filing and disclosure.
--Giving the President and Congress can offer last-minute rescissions on "clunker" earmarks.
Given the fact that the recent omnibus spending bill had thousands of earmarks from members of BOTH parties, I'll be interested to see whether any of this will fly. Makes for good headlines though in the meantime.