"I have repeatedly said that I agree with, applaud, and wholeheartedly support Speaker-designate John Boehner's position on earmarks,” said Rep. Bachmann. “Let me be clear, there is no daylight between my position and that of John Boehner. I am opposed to earmarks."
Unfortunately, John Boehner has waffled on his earmarks commitment before enacting the unilateral, outright ban on earmarks in the upcoming Congress. Unlike Bachmann, Boehner has never taken an earmark, but he also hasn’t been firmly opposed to a permanent ban. He used ambiguous language when crafting the earmark moratorium and has repeatedly dodged the issue in media appearances and press releases.
Rep. King tried to use a Constitutional argument.
“The Constitution is clear that Members have the authority to appropriate through the earmark process,” said Rep. King. “There has been no prohibition constitutionally unless they violate the commerce clause or something of that nature.”
King recently called for a “blood oath” from Boehner to shut down the government if the health care bill can’t be repealed. If he is this conservative on Obamacare, then why isn’t he that conservative on the issue of earmarks?
“If we forever signed off of earmarks, then we’re empowering the executive branch to make the exclusive decision to determine where earmarks go,” he explained.
Andrew Moylan at the National Taxpayer Union said that the Members’ response to the prospect of a permanent, unequivocal earmark ban was ridiculous.
“It speaks to the enduring power of earmarks,” said Moylan. “By and large these legislators are voting pretty well, but it’s problematic that they cling to the belief that Congress ought to hand out special projects.”
“It makes no sense that we have Washington deciding what bridges and highways get funded. It’s a problem that we have this large and powerful federal government deciding these issues, instead of the states.”