GOP adopts earmark ban, attempting to put pressure on Dem deals for health care votes

House Republicans today said they are banning all earmarks by their lawmakers for the rest of this year, in an effort to put pressure on Democrats who they say are using “back room deals” to buy votes for President Obama’s health care bill.

“No doubt earmarks are being talked about in a different way by the democratic majority,” said Rep. Mike Pence, the chairman of the Republican Conference, from Indiana.

Pence said Democrats were cutting “backroom deals” to persuade reluctant House Democrats to vote for the president’s proposal, and said “the American people want us to change business as usual.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, said that Democrats’ promises to clean up Washington politics “is being broken every day.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, kept his comments more focused on spending, letting Pence and one or two others go after Democrats on the health care issue.

“For millions of Americans, the earmark process in Congress has become a symbol of a broken Washington,” Boehner said in a statement. “Today House Republicans took an important step toward showing the American people we’re serious about reform by adopting an immediate, unilateral ban on all earmarks.”