In today’s edition of Roll Call, there is a rather telling article regarding earmarks in the Economic Stimulus Package. The article, titled “Artfully Redefining Earmarks,” clearly points out that some members clearly don’t get it, including those close to Speaker Pelosi. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is quoted in the article saying: “I know the politics of all this. I just think they’re wrong about it…I love earmarks.”
It should be noted that President-Elect Obama has clearly stated that any stimulus must be earmark free. Therefore senior Democratic Members of the House are crafting “Legislative formulas …to ensure that their districts share in the wealth…,” in clear defiance of the standard bearer of their party.
It is Clyburn’s intent to have these formulas act as trade-offs for members, particularly freshmen, who need political cover in order to support a stimulus package.
As I have said time and time again, Members of Congress are not ATM machines. Fiscal stimulus goes beyond ideological boundaries; and earmarks, or legislative formulas for that matter, have no place in legislation designed at tackling our nation’s economic woes.