President Trump Endorses Earmarks to Aid Legislative Negotiations

President Donald Trump   Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

And despite the earmark ban, congressional leaders still have plenty of ways of favoring House districts or to states.

The Times came across one earmark that sent $100,000 to a local library that didn't even need the cash, and another that sought $100,000 to build bus shelters in a wealthy Florida community - and got $250,000 instead. There's a lesson about the nature of politics in here, if you take a careful look.

"Our system lends itself to not getting things done, and I hear so much about earmarks - the old earmark system - how there was a great friendliness when you had earmarks", the president said during a White House meeting on immigration attended by multiple lawmakers. If that was all, it could be easily dismissed.

He returned to the idea repeatedly during Tuesday's meeting, saying there need to be controls and limits, but saying he had become convinced that earmarks help grease the wheels of deal making and cooperation, pointing to earlier days when Democrats and Republicans used to pal around much more freely. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who sat next to Trump and found himself in rare agreement with the president. "Earmarks were abused as a form of currency to buy and sell the votes of politicians and to reward political supporters".

That would be most unfortunate. John McCain said earmarks are "the gateway drug to corruption & overspending in Washington".

Both parties were guilty of abusing the system, but numerous most memorable abuses were Republican efforts. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). "That's why earmarks were banned & that's why they shouldn't be brought back from the dead". Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., after Trump made his remarks.

But Mr. Trump said he's come to believe that earmarks may be the one way to unify a fractious Congress where the two parties can't seem to agree on anything.

Earmarks are trying to make a comeback and President Donald Trump is fueling the idea, suggesting more control over pet projects could smooth things over in a bitterly divided Congress. There was a higher degree of bipartisanship in the past.

"Since Congress holds the power of the purse, members of Congress should be able to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to move more rapidly on a flood control project", Culberson told The Daily Signal.

Earmarks also run counter to everything Trump supposedly wants to do.

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President Trump should continue to work with conservatives in Congress to drain the swamp and stop any congressional efforts to reinstate earmarks. Instead, they carved out something out of the overall appropriations to an agency instead of having to submit to the regular process that funds most government projects.

It was not a complete dismissal of Trump's position, but Short clearly wanted Blitzer and the world to know that the president's words on this issue were just, well, not to be taken literally.

At its peak, earmarking accounted for about 1 percent of federal spending - though some of the worst practices produced an outsized level of embarrassment.

One reason, he said, was that many institutions have had to hire specialists who focus more on the executive branch. Earmarks may be a good idea simply because it's perfectly fine for Congress to make specific spending choices.

The National Institutes of Health, for example, the geniuses behind the $175,000 grant given to the University of Kentucky to study how cocaine affects the sex drives of Japanese quail. Tennessee Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper was one of them.

"The misnomer about that is that it is a "swamp" issue", Anderholt said. No, I think what you're talking about is the Rules Committee hearings.

"If we pass some kind of transportation bill and we don't have earmarks, the money goes to the Missouri Department of Transportation, and my priorities are not met", Cleaver said. According to a May 9, 2016 Congressional Quarterly article, since fiscal year (FY) 2002, Congress completed its spending bills an average of 91 days late in non-election years and 144 days late in election years.

That study didn't happen, as Congress turned to other pressing business.

"Earmarks are a lazy, unfair and corrupt way to circumvent the authorization and appropriations process", Schatz said in his statement. "They have been roundly excoriated by the conservative movement upon which Republicans depend for their political lives".

Republican lawmakers would be wise to pay attention to that last part. NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis has more. If there is someone who could persuade the grass-roots organizations to go along with earmarks - and against groups like the Club for Growth and the House Freedom Caucus - it might be him. Given the connotations that earmarks carry, it's not hard to see Democrats saying that restoring them represents Republicans violating Trump's "drain the swamp" promises and restoring corruption to Washington.

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