Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 3, 2015

Republican Wants to Revive Earmarks — With Transparency (Updated)

Updated 10:01 p.m. | A Republican appropriator on Friday called for reviving congressional earmarks so lawmakers can use the power of the purse — but wants it to be transparent.

During a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program, Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota urged a transparent process of congressionally-directed spending, when asked if earmarks should be allowed again in appropriations bills.

“I think there’s got to be, you know, full, open transparency and disclosure, but Congress has to work to make these decisions about where the dollars are spent and how, but everything has to go through a full open process, and not only … in the committee, but also on the floor,” Hoeven said, “I think that’s how you address the whole issue of earmarking in a way where Congress fulfills its rightful role that best serves the public.”

He said such a practice would provide a better opportunity to slash “pork” and “cut things that should not be funded.”

The Republican senator’s viewpoint is similar to that of some other veterans of the Appropriations panel, including Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

Durbin responded directly to a letter circulated Thursday by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., pushing to continue an earmark moratorium. Durbin said he didn’t like that idea.

“I do not want to turn over the decision on the future of projects in the state of Illinois to someone in Washington who is not familiar with our state, our economy and how we can build jobs in my state,” Durbin told CQ Roll Call.

On the broader issue of spending for the next year, Hoeven said Friday he is backing efforts by panel Democrats to work the regular fiscal 2015 appropriations bills through the committee and to the floor for consideration.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in March that he planned to carve out four weeks in June and July for the purpose of taking up spending bills. For Republicans, the measures could give them a rare opportunity to offer myriad amendments.

“You talk about getting back to regular order, which is the context for this whole conversation. Appropriation bills coming to the floor are our best way to force that to happen, so you know again, I’m a member of the Appropriations Committee,” Hoeven said Friday. “I’m very supportive of trying to get these bills through the committee and to the floor because it’s very hard for the majority party not to allow an open amendment process on those appropriation bills.”

The Senate’s rules governing floor consideration of spending bills to impose significant restrictions on extraneous amendments, making debate more manageable for the Democrats — at least theoretically.

“That’s the best way for us to force a lot of these votes and issues to come to the floor and make people address them and vote on them, and that is what serves the American public,” Hoeven added.

10:01 p.m. Editor’s note from Senate leadership editor Steven T. Dennis:

A few hours after we posted this story, Hoeven called to complain about the headline and the lede, which he didn’t think fairly represented what he said. We disagree.

Hoeven told me that he supported “congressionally directed spending” rather than “earmarks,” and that “if it’s done in an open, transparent and accountable way,” that’s not an earmark.

“We should have congressionally directed spending that’s open, transparent and accountable,” he said.

“I think there’s a difference between congressionally directed spending and an earmark. I think that’s what I was getting at. …
I did not say I want to revive earmarks with transparency.”

While the senator, after our story posted, may want to create a new definition of earmark, we have had a definition for a long time. The Senate itself notes that congressionally directed spending items are “commonly known as ‘earmarks.'”

And Hoeven’s position opposing a ban on earmarks also isn’t new.

Before he took office, the Associated Press reported he opposed a ban on earmarks.

And in 2012 he voted against a ban on earmarks.

In consultation with the reporter, I did add the phrase “but wants it to be transparent” in the lede to add context.

I also made clear in the story that he was specifically asked if earmarks should be allowed again in appropriations bills.

You can watch the full C-SPAN video clip of Niels Lesniewski asking Hoeven about earmarks here.

Comments (26)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Bobby

    May 2, 2014
    5:24 p.m.

    Earmarks coming back will only result in more spending and greasing the skids for blowing out any type of fiscal discipline.

  2. Derfallbright

    May 3, 2014
    4:39 p.m.

    This whole spending issue by Congress is complicated. What our congressmen have become is elected lobbyist (money grabbers) for their district or their state. It might be better if somehow all spending for all local projects inside the USA be block granted to each state, or at least have a rule that no Senator or Congressman could vote on any bill that would include a project in his or her state. I think this would at least force congress people to talk to each other….you vote for my pork project I’ll vote for yours kind of thing. At least with the system of not being able to vote for spending in your own state or district it might keep some of the actual lobbyist confused.

  3. Adam Smith

    May 3, 2014
    8:57 p.m.

    As common morals, customs, and language are integrated throughout our culture, our interactions become more predictable and the case for centralized control is weakened.

  4. darthgidget

    May 5, 2014
    4:14 p.m.

    well. since spending bills must originate in the House, the Senate can play this game all they want because it doesn’t matter.

  5. ExVariable

    May 6, 2014
    2:10 a.m.

    Even though liberty’s principles differ from democratic processes, democratic methods can support liberty where they offer each of us input into the political decisions that affect our lives and liberty.

  6. G26

    May 6, 2014
    7:58 p.m.

    Since liberty was not designed, but discovered, its benefits were mostly unknown until recognized and studied.

  7. Mr. Sequel

    May 7, 2014
    4:14 p.m.

    Some claim that particular forms of collectivism, such as “democratic socialism” will eliminate the problem of who decides for whom.

  8. Anonymous

    June 27, 2015
    7 a.m.

    You have brought up a very excellent points, regards for the post.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  9. Anonymous

    July 2, 2015
    11:28 a.m.

    Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Many thanks

    http://terbaik4u.weebly.com/

  10. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    7:57 p.m.

    Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great pattern.

    http://www.furtdsolinopv.com/

  11. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    11:53 a.m.

    Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to see more posts like this.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  12. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    6:15 a.m.

    I really enjoy looking through on this site, it holds superb articles.

    http://lifestream.aol.com/stream/fmorenop40infoasistencia.com

  13. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    3:11 a.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming as well. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it.

    http://pobrevirtual.com.br/wikipobre/index.php?title=What_Is_The_Best_Low_Cost_Auto_Insurance

  14. pinoy

    July 20, 2015
    3 p.m.

    Thanks so much for the blog post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  15. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    5:03 a.m.

    excellent points altogether, you just received a emblem new reader. What may you suggest in regards to your publish that you made some days in the past? Any positive?

    http://lowcostautoquotes.com/low-cost-car-insurance.html

  16. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    6:40 a.m.

    Merely wanna say that this is invaluable, Thanks for taking your time to write this.

    http://lowcostautoquotes.com

  17. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    10:14 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you¦ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What an ideal website.

    http://split.us

  18. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    12:03 p.m.

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

    http://split.us

  19. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    9:37 p.m.

    Greetings! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

    https://bestplumbers.com

  20. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    11:07 p.m.

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

    https://bestplumbers.com

  21. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    4:39 p.m.

    This is a topic close to my heart cheers, where are your contact details though?

    http://nflfemale.com/members/tankerpolish5/activity/284239/

  22. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    6:06 p.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

    http://thatnikonguy.com/community/index.php?p=/discussion/108731/home-insurance-calculator-comparison

  23. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    9:46 p.m.

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    http://fandaily.info/tutorial/how-to-buy-property-with-no-money-and-bad-credit-2/

  24. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    9:23 a.m.

    Thank you for another informative website. Where else could I get that type of information written in such a perfect way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

    http://www.consultdustry.com

  25. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    5:42 p.m.

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

    http://www.consultdustry.com

  26. Anonymous

    today
    5:32 a.m.

    i1V2RP Say, you got a nice blog article.Really thank you! Keep writing.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...