Political Editors / Nov. 16, 2016

GOP House: The Good and the Bad

Republicans unanimously vote for Ryan but reconsider allowing earmarks.

Some change is good and some not so good, but the concept of change simply for the sake of change is often a recipe for disaster. Yesterday, House Republicans unanimously voted to keep Paul Ryan (R-WI) as speaker of the House. While it’s clear not every Republican is a fan of Ryan and he probably won’t get unanimous support for the upcoming speaker election, this display of party unity is significant. It strengthens the party for the inevitable policy opposition and battles it is sure to face from Democrats and the Leftmedia. This also bodes well for Donald Trump’s policy plans since both Reince Priebus and Mike Pence are good friends of Ryan — having the three work together to craft policy should encourage conservatives.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that several House Republicans — Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Tom Rooney of Florida — are seeking to revive earmarks, a practice the GOP disallowed upon retaking the House in 2010. Earmarks have been associated with causing corruption in Washington. It’s this type of government cronyism, which caters to special interest groups, that Trump specifically identified as needing to be cleaned up. And for all his faults, former House Speaker John Boehner detested earmarks and defended the ban.

Andy Koenig, vice president of policy at Freedom Partners, said, “Hard working Americans want their tax dollars spent wisely and transparently.” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin warned, “Any member of Congress who votes to bring back old-school, backroom, pork barrel spending through earmarks is putting himself or herself firmly against the American people who just elected Donald Trump president, as he campaigned emphatically on the issue of draining the swamp in Washington.” And Ken Cuccinelli, president of Senate Conservatives Fund, argued, “Americans are tired of politicians in Washington using their power to rig the system for special interests. … It would be a major mistake for Republicans to bring back earmarks as their first act after the elections. It would be a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who just voted to drain the swamp.” The House is voting today via secret ballot. Let’s hope this proposal is defeated.

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