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Senate Republicans voted Thursday to adopt a permanent ban on earmarks, in a move that signals as long as the GOP controls the chamber the practice of pork-barrel spending won’t return.
A ban had been adopted every Congress since House Republicans imposed it after taking the majority in that chamber in 2011, but it needed to be renewed every two years.
Sen - Ben - Sasse - Time - GOP
Sen. Ben Sasse said it was time for the GOP to make the ban permanent.
“The last thing taxpayers need is for the same politicians who racked up a $22 trillion national debt to go on an earmark binge,” the Nebraska Republican said.
Vote - Meeting - House - Republicans
He won the vote in a closed-door meeting of House Republicans.
The vote was to adopt a rule of the GOP conference.
Republicans - Majority - Senate - Rule - Chamber
And because Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, that rule controls the chamber — and therefore the entire Congress, since the Senate can reject any earmarks coming out of the House.
Earmarks are spending items slipped into bills directing money to a specific project or even company.
Dirty - Word - Decade - GOP - Lawmaker
They became a dirty word in the last decade, when one GOP lawmaker went to jail for selling them, and stories of boondoggle projects proliferated. The so-called Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska was the most prominent, but stories of money mysteriously being doubled, or earmarks handled so lazily that they went to the wrong targets were also uncovered.
Still, some Congress-watchers say Capitol Hill has become more chaotic without them — and President Trump at one point had suggested Congress bring them back.
Height - Percent - Spending
At their height in 2005, earmarks accounted for about 5 percent of total discretionary spending.
Critics of the practice said earmarks were also wielded by party leaders to entice rank-and-file members to vote for bloated spending bills, with the promise that they would get credit for directing money to pet projects they could brag...
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