WASHINGTON — After Congress eliminated the time-worn practice of larding up spending bills with so-called pork-barrel projects, President Donald Trump and some lawmakers are weighing whether to bring the practice back.
That idea was met with pre-emptive bipartisan legislation Thursday as Reps. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Walter Jones, R-N.C., introduced a bill to prohibit the use of “earmarks,” dedicated line-item spending directives that funneled federal funds to specific road, bridge and research projects.
The “Pulled Pork Act” was introduced on the same day that Republicans were holding hearings on restoring the process eliminated in 2010 by then-House Speaker John Boehner.
“Earmarks represent a return to political favoritism, unethical practices and wasteful government spending,” Rosen said, adding that “compromise, not pork barrel projects, is how we cut through partisan gridlock.”
Jones said Congress eliminated earmarks because they “wrought corruption and ballooned the national deficit.”
Trump admits earmarks got a little “out of hand,” but he embraced the concept of bringing them back during a televised meeting last week with lawmakers. The president suggested the practice could bring lawmakers together during divisive times.
Senior lawmakers in both parties noted that earmarks gave immense power to legislative appropriators who write spending bills that fund government.
Rosen said she would continue to work for Nevada families by reaching across the aisle on issues that Democrats and Republicans agree on, “not through the politics of bribery that this administration is looking to embrace.”