The Weekly Fix: Nothing Says “Bipartisanship” Like Earmarks

The fix is in. There is a movement to restore earmarks to Congress, and it’s being led by entrenched and out-of-touch Republicans. It’s amazing how quickly beltway politicians will revert to their old antics when they have been living in the swamp for too long.

Earmarks are the special carve-outs in a piece of spending legislation that designate funds toward specific projects. Earmarked funds have very little oversight and are usually spent on pet projects for members of Congress to brag about in their home districts, like building a library and naming it after themselves.

Earmarks are to blame for the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $3.4 million “turtle tunnel” in Florida, a teapot museum in North Carolina, and a cowboy poetry gathering in Nevada, to name a few.

The earmark ban has been in place since 2011. Now, establishment Republicans and Democrats want them back.

The House Rules Committee held two days of public hearings about the earmark ban, after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) rejected the idea of allowing earmarks to be reinstated behind closed doors with a secret ballot vote.

An enthusiastic House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) told reporters, “Maybe they’ll breathe life into the whole idea. I’m all for earmarks."

Of course, Democrats are on board with reinstating earmarks as well. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) testified during the hearing, "If a proposal moves forward, it is my intention to recommend to my members that it be supported."

Pork-barrel spending seems to be the single issue on which both parties can agree.

Getting rid of earmarks was one of the first major victories of the 2010 class of tea party legislators in Washington, and rightfully so. Our representatives should not have to be bribed with special handouts to make the legislative process work.

Those in Congress who believe earmarks are needed to “grease the wheels” of Washington should know that grassroots America is still watching. Vote for earmarks at your own political risk.

It’s time to take a stand. The American people aren’t being heard by their representatives because the game is rigged. Government isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”