15 Republican Senators Oppose Return Of Earmarks

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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15 Republican senators announced their opposition to the use of earmarks in the legislative process in a Monday letter.

“We will not participate in an inherently wasteful spending process which is prone to serious abuse,” they wrote to fellow Republican senators. Senate Republicans will vote as a conference Wednesday on whether they should reinstate earmarks, Politico reported.

Congressional Republicans first introduced the earmarks ban in 2011, during the Tea Party movement. Democrats in both chambers voted to reinstate earmarks—or, line items inserted into bills that direct money towards a specific recipient—in February. House Republicans voted to reinstate the practice in March.

Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a frequent critic of wasteful spending, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that earmarks “will be used as currency for votes as Democrat leadership buys off moderates who do not support their party’s radical policy agenda.” (RELATED: ‘So You’re Saying It’s Embarrassing’: CNN Anchor Presses Congressman On Special Earmarks In $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill)

The 15 Republican senators to sign the letter are Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, Wyoming’s Cynthia Lummis, Indiana’s Mike Braun, Missouri’s Josh Hawley, Montana’s Steve Daines, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.

Sasse, who wrote the Senate GOP’s current earmarks ban in 2019, called them “a crummy way to govern” at the time. “Backroom deals, kickbacks, and earmarks feed a culture of constant incumbency and that’s poisonous to healthy self-government,” he said.