Earmarks May Be Back

Earmarks May Be Back

Soon after Congress finishes up the current fiscal year’s spending bills, work will begin on the 2020 appropriations process, which may once again include earmarks. Democrats are considering reinstating the “directed spending” that has been forbidden since 2011, according to CQ.

“I am working to restore the Congress’ constitutional duty to exercise the ‘power of the purse’ through congressionally directed spending with reforms to ensure transparency and accountability,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a written statement to CQ. “I am discussing this issue with members on both sides of the aisle and both chambers.”

Earmarks that provide funding for specific local projects are popular with many lawmakers who say Congress should get to decide where to spend money instead of leaving it up to administration bureaucrats; critics say such “pet projects” encourage corruption and waste.

Earmarks, which have never made up a significant portion of the federal budget, have been largely taboo since a series of scandals showed money flowing to friends and campaign contributors.

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