Rep. Boehner Opposes Tea Party On Earmarks

November 05, 2010 10:39 am ET — Walid Zafar

In an interview with Fox News last night, presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that his caucus would call for a moratorium on congressional earmarks, but not for an outright ban, as the Tea Party movement has demanded.  "Some things that people call earmarks here," Boehner told Bret Baier, "wouldn't classify as an earmark to the American people."  In other words, despite the rhetoric and perhaps piecemeal reforms of the process, little would change.

BAIER: The guys in line to be Chairman [of the Appropriations Committee], they're big fans of earmarks.

BOEHNER: There's gonna be an earmark moratorium, it's pretty clear.

BAIER: Why not an outright ban?

BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn't classify as an earmark to the American people.

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Boehner's grandstanding over earmarks is unlikely to be meaningful.  While he himself has stayed away from congressional pork, many in his caucus have not.  Most notably, a reference to earmarks was completely left out of the Pledge to America.  The rhetoric becomes even more comical when you consider that Boehner is entirely beholden to corporate interests.  In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal today, Boehner writes that "earmarks have become a symbol of a broken Washington, and an entire lobbying industry has been created around them."  But as the New York Times noted several months ago, Boehner is "tightly bound" to corporate lobbying interests.

Boehner isn't alone in distancing himself from one of the Tea Party's main legislative goals.  Speaking at the Heritage Foundation yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shrugged off a ban, saying, "You can eliminate every congressional earmark and you would save no money. It's really an argument about discretion."

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