Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boehner, Cantor Offer Earmark Reform Resolution


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Press Office
November 19, 2008
(202) 225-2815
Boehner, Cantor Offer Earmark Reform Resolution
GOP Rules Change Would Set Up Spending Reform Panel, Place Moratorium on Earmark Requests Until Report is Filed


WASHINGTON, DC - House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today filed a proposed amendment to House Republican Conference rules. If adopted, the rules change would establish a House Republican earmark reform panel and place a moratorium on earmark requests by House Republican Members until the panel has filed a report with recommendations for changing Washington's broken spending practices.
"While earmarks are hardly the sole source of waste in the federal budget, the earmark process in Congress has become a symbol of a broken Washington," said Boehner. "Regrettably, our Democratic colleagues have concluded no further reform is needed in the earmark process. Republicans respectfully disagree. Our hope is that adoption of this resolution will be a first step in a much larger process of bringing meaningful change to the process by which Washington spends taxpayers' hard-earned money."
"The creation of this Earmark Commission reflects the desire of our Conference to begin the 111th Congress with a heavy emphasis on reform," said Cantor. "Reform is an ongoing process. The status quo is simply not acceptable. It's now or never to start to make Washington work again for the hard working American families, and this Commission is a step forward into the right direction."
In January, House Republicans unilaterally banned taxpayer-funded "monuments to me" (earmarks for projects named after the members sponsoring them) and the practice of "airdropping" earmarks into final bills at the last moment to minimize scrutiny. Republicans also proposed a bipartisan moratorium and panel on earmarks. The Democratic majority rejected the proposal and declined to follow the GOP in adopting the same bans.
The proposed amendment adds a new standing order to the Conference Rules to establish a 10 member Select Committee on Earmark Reform. Members will be appointed by the Republican Leader and the Committee is to report back its recommendations no later than February 16, 2009. The Conference will consider the Select Committee's recommendations not later than the second regularly scheduled Conference meeting after the report is filed. Finally, the order institutes a moratorium on requesting earmarks through February 16, 2009.

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