For more than a decade under Republican leadership, the number of earmarks nearly quadrupled – from 4,000 in 1994 to over 15,000 in 2005. In that time, they implemented no earmark reforms, and instead chose to increase their number, cost, and controversy. Upon taking the majority, Democrats put in place strict new measures to increase transparency and strengthen disclosure rules. In every year after, Democrats implemented strong reforms with little to no Republican support. The Republicans’ temporary ban on earmarks does not change their history of using them with reckless abandon.
“Temporary” Ban Not a Serious Effort at Change
“Surprising his colleagues in announcing his support for the ban was Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), a longtime opponent of such a moratorium. Lewis told reporters during a break in the meeting that the move was only temporary.” [Roll Call, 3/11/2010]
“The Obey earmark ban applies to for-profit companies, while the GOP moratorium is for all types of earmarks. But it remains unclear how long these moratoria will last. Obey indicted earlier this week that his policy changes ‘are intended to be a long-term proposition.’ The House GOP ban is for the rest of 2010.” [Roll Call, 3/11/2010]
“Rep. Steven LaTourette [(R-OH)], an appropriator, called it ‘stupid…. It’s all about November,’ he said. ‘I could be OK with that position if it applied to the Senate, to the administration, to transportation, but you know, if this were such a hot issue, [Sen.] John McCain [R-Ariz.] would be president of the United States.’” [Roll Call, 3/11/2010]
Earmarks Explode Under Republican Control
Under Republican leadership, earmarks nearly quadrupled – from 4,000 in 1994 to over 15,000 at the end of the 109th Congress in 2005 – including massive increases to the following bills:
o Under Democrats in FY 1994: Virtually none
o Under Republicans in FY 2000: 491 earmarks
o Under Republicans, in FY 2005: 3,014 earmarks totaling $1.2 billion
Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations:
o Under Democrats, FY 1994: 140 earmarks
o Under Republicans, FY 2005: 2,094 earmarks totaling $3.3 billion
Highway Authorization Bill:
o From 1956-1990: 739 earmarks
o Under Republicans in 2005 ALONE: 5,000 earmarks, totaling $24 billion
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