Secret Republican Vote to Restore Earmarks is a Betrayal of the Voters

by Joel B. Pollak

The House Republican Conference vote on Wednesday to restore earmarks was a betrayal of the voters, and undermined one of the remaining legacies of the Tea Party.

The vote was close, 102-84, but that is no consolation, especially as it was by secret ballot, preventing voters from holding their representatives accountable.

If Republicans do not hold a revote, they can expect conservatives to stay home in 2022. They will have blown their chance to retake the House — and will deserve to lose.

Earmarks are, or were, spending provisions that Senators and Representatives attach to bills that are likely to pass and be signed into law. The Congressional Research Service defines them as a benefit to “a specific entity or state, locality, or congressional district other than through a statutory or administrative formula or competitive award process.” They allow members of Congress to shower “pork” projects on their districts — or to reward favored donors and special interests.

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