All 178 House Republicans agreed Wednesday to implement a yearlong ban on all congressional earmarks in spending bills.
"Federal spending is out of control and the American people know it. Earmarks have become emblematic of everything that is wrong with spending here in Washington D.C.” said Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.), Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Earmarks — which conservatives deride because they are the embodiment of pork-barrel spending — are funding for projects inserted into a bill by lawmakers skipping the traditional budgeting process.
Heads turn now to the Senate where several Republicans have proposed a similar moratorium, but Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) says that he is against a ban on earmarks challenging many of his fellow conservative colleagues.
“If you kill an earmark… it doesn’t save one cent, not a cent, it is merely ceded to the Executive Branch,” says Inhofe.
Inhofe then used an example from the Bush administration explaining that President Bush only passed two out of 12 appropriation bills in 2007. “All they did [with the failed bills] was take the amount of money that would have been appropriated and put it into grants, and used the present budget and, of course, unelected bureaucrats were the ones making the distributions.”
Inhofe proposes a spending freeze that would include all discretionary spending at FY08 levels for all “non-security” appropriations, excluding Defense, Homeland Security, State, Veterans Administration, and national security functions of Energy.
Inhofe says the Honest Expenditure Limitation Program (HELP) Act of 2010 — co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) — “would result in nearly $900 billion in savings over a 10 year period.”
Inhofe’s website reports that “using the Obama Administration’s own numbers and assumptions, this proposal would save $634 billion more than enacting Obama’s proposed spending freeze by 2020, and it would save close to $900 billion over the same 10 years compared to doing nothing.”
Inhofe also said that he believes that big spenders in Congress who he would rather not name but “the ones who vote for the $700 billion bailout, who vote for the $300 billion mortgage bailout, vote for the PEPFAR bill….[they] demagogue earmarks” to make it look like they are not big spenders.
Inhofe told HUMAN EVENTS that he would not only vote against the earmark ban put forward by his colleagues but he would “speak against it and make sure they understand what they’re doing.”
“Look, I’m used to being alone. This is wrong. If they want to cede that authority to Obama…I will talk about it long enough that people will understand it.”
“If we do that, why should we any longer have oversight hearings? …The reason for an oversight is to make sure that you’re spending the money that we have sent in there…we’re not sending the money, we have no control over it. Call up the oversight hearings. That’s what they’re getting into. This is a big deal. The problem is that nobody understands it, and it’s too complicated.”