The return of earmarks: A Q&A on what’s happening and what to expect

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.

The return of earmarks was bolstered by recommendations issued by the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last year. It argued for a return of reformed earmarks, but with various guardrails built in to ensure the new process is even more transparent and accountable and does not result in boondoggles or dollars flowing to corporations and their lobbyists.

To get a better handle on the possible return of earmarks, I contacted Franz Wuerfmannsdobler. He is a senior advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and served as a Capitol Hill staffer for two decades, where he had first-hand experience in a personal office and on the Appropriations Committee with earmarks….(Read more)




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

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Kevin R Kosar

Kevin R Kosar

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

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