With their eyes on a House majority, Republicans are leaving the door open to allowing earmarks after a one-year party-imposed moratorium.
So cue the “bridge to nowhere” and “pork” rhetoric and fire up the angry press releases from fiscal watchdogs.
This close to the election, Republicans are all over the place on how they’ll handle earmarking as they are poised to ride an anti-spending wave to electoral victories.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor indicated in August that earmarks could make their way back but would be allowed based on “merit, not muscle.” He tried to clarify Wednesday, telling POLITICO that his party has “learned its lesson, and a new majority will spend its time and energy cutting spending, not increasing it, and that includes earmarks.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner is hedging, saying Republicans banned earmarks because of a broken process spurred by Democrats but that “whatever happens in November, the need for bipartisan reform will continue.”
Yet House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence said Wednesday that Republicans are still determined to “end earmarks as we know them.”
The Republicans should throw this deadweight overboard before November and make room for leaders like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan.