ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
House Republicans this morning joined Senate Republicans in instituting an earmark ban for the 112th Congress, adopting a motion by unanimous consent offered by former reality MTV star turned lawmaker Sean Duffy.
Duffy, R-Wisconsin, a former lumberjack elected to the congressional seat of retiring Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, called the ban “an important step in restoring trust between Americans and their elected leaders” while turning the Congress’s focus to the priorities of the voters.
“Anyone who's been listening to the American people can tell you that banning earmarks is a no-brainer, Duffy said. “Banning earmarks is a very important step for the more than 80 new Republican lawmakers entering Congress. It is their first step in changing the culture in Washington that finds trillion-dollar deficits acceptable; believes a $13-trillion debt is the cost of doing business, and thinks politicians and bureaucrats know better than families and small businesses.”
Duffy responded to supporters of earmarks who contend they make up just a fraction of the budget and cutting them would not have much of an impact on cutting the deficit, telling his Republican colleagues that the pork-barrel spending symbolizes “everything Americans resent about Washington’s business-as-usual.”
“Earmarks themselves are used to grease the wheels for more spending, more borrowing and more government,” Duffy told the GOP conference, according to his prepared remarks. “While individual earmarks may be small relative to the total budget, they have a dramatic impact when used to buy votes for much larger - and much more expensive - pieces of legislation.”
Following the adoption of the motion, Speaker-designate John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the agreement is proof for the voters that the new House Republican majority is working to fulfill its campaign pledges to cut spending and reform Congress.
“Earmarks have become a symbol of a Congress that has broken faith with the people. This earmark ban shows the American people we are listening and we are dead serious about ending business as usual in Washington,” Boehner said. “House and Senate Republicans are now united in adopting earmark bans. We hope President Obama will follow through on his support for an earmark ban by pressing Democratic leaders to join House and Senate Republicans in taking this critical step to restore public trust.” Boehner praised Duffy, a former reality MTV star on “Real World: Boston” and contestant on “Road Rules” for his leadership on the issue among incoming freshmen members.
“I applaud Rep.-elect Duffy for his leadership on this critical issue,” Boehner said. “He and the rest of his historic class of House freshmen are here because Washington Democrats refused to listen to the American people and stop the spending binge that threatens our children’s futures.”