Various reports indicate that congressional Democrats intend to bring back earmarks. Politico quoted Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as saying they will return, and that House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro “is working through the details of a reformed process.” This news is not a bolt out of the blue. Last week, an AEI report by Professor Zachary Courser of Claremont McKenna College and I noted that talk of reviving earmarks has been percolating for years. Many legislators lamented losing the ability to fix crumbling roads and renovate public parks in their home districts. Our study found legislative gridlock rose after the earmark moratorium….(Read more)

Conservatives have a love-hate relationship with the Republican Party. The reason is straightforward: the Grand Old Party (GOP) frequently disappoints them. The media regularly complains that Republicans have been radicalized and are governing from the far right; conservatives not so much. When they look to Washington they perceive lots of…

However well-intentioned, the earmark moratorium has had real shortcomings. As various observers
have noted, forbidding earmarks has shifted spending authority to the executive branch agencies, which are not directly accountable to the public. The moratorium also has not reduced federal spending, as some advocates anticipated. Troublingly, the earmark moratorium encouraged legislators to attempt to direct spending through the less-transparent practice of lettermarking. Perhaps most critically, this report’s analysis shows how the earmark moratorium weakened
the House of Representatives’ capacity to coalesce majorities to enact legislation, a constitutional duty of the chamber….(Read more)


Something surprising happened on the floor of the House this week. Representative Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, was supposed to rise and swear in Nancy Pelosi to be leader of the chamber, and then sit down. Instead, the longest serving member of the House chose another course of action. The reader would be forgiven for fearing that Young, who has a reputation for unruly behavior, would create a heated partisan moment for the cameras…(Read more)

Kevin R Kosar

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC. My books: Congress Overwhelmed (2020) and… See

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