Last week, during debate on the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, 10 amendments were debated on the floor by myself, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). These amendments would strike various earmarks present in the bill.
This alone is altogether not particularly newsworthy, but on average, just under 65% of the Republican conference voted in favor of striking the earmarks in all 10 amendments. I remember in 2006, when it was almost taboo to vote ‘yes’ on measures like these, and there were only a handful of us fighting to reform the process, limit the wasteful spending, and staunch the tide of earmark corruption. Clearly, the message has gotten through to my colleagues.
Of course, there is still much work to be done on this front, but with the majority of the Republican caucus backing reform, perhaps now is the time to address sweeping and substantive earmark reform.