House Republicans spent Friday morning behind closed doors debating whether to undo the current ban on earmarks, but the amendment was eventually defeated after passionate pleas from both sides.
Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers spoke in favor of an amendment to roll back the ban, arguing it has the effect of giving the president power over Congress on spending.
“I do not believe most people trust how President Obama spends our tax dollars,” Rogers said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller by his office. “This proposal would allow the conservative, Republican-controlled House to reassert its Constitutional authority over the Obama Administration and the spending decisions it is currently making.”
Rogers’ amendment to the earmark moratorium made exception for spending for a “state, locality (including county and city governments), or a public utility or other public entity.”
The proposal is a divisive one among Republicans, especially those elected during the tea party wave of 2010.
Earmarks, often viewed by conservatives and tea partiers as symbolic of wasteful federal spending, typically refer to items inserted by members of Congress into bills directing dollars to specific projects back home.
In 2011, House Republicans instituted a temporary moratorium on pork barrel spending. Democrats in the Senate followed suit.
House Speaker John Boehner, who boasts of having a no-earmark policy his entire congressional career, is making the case why the ban should remain in place during the meeting with lawmakers.
Over the summer, Boehner’s office went up with a video detailing his opposition to earmarks.
“As long as I’m speaker, there will be no earmarks,” Boehner has said.