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House Democrats Ban Earmarks for Private Contractors

5 years ago
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Democrats in the House said Wednesday they will ban lawmakers from using spending bills to steer federal money to for-profit companies in their home states.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) announced the crackdown on earmarks for private firms, which are offered no-bid contracts and often return the favor with campaign contributions, The Associated Press reported.

The ban could mean 1,000 fewer earmarks in a year, saving billions of dollars, Obey said.

The move comes as House Democrats try to deflect criticism that they have not aggressively enforced ethics rules Speaker Nancy Pelosi put in place in 2007, USA Today reported.

Republicans in the House are considering a ban on all earmarks as a way to appeal to voters fed up with Washington's profligate spending.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) praised the move by House Democrats on Tuesday and pledged to force a vote this week on a similar earmark ban in the Senate.

"Nancy Pelosi and I don't agree on many things, but if she's willing to take a stand for taxpayers, I'll work with her to put an end to the earmark favor factory," DeMint said in a statement.

Congress awarded nearly $16 billion in earmarks for the current fiscal year, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Filed Under: House, Democrats, Congress

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