by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The headline “A Cure for Congress?” tops a TIME magazine blurb about proposals to restore federal earmarks and “smoke-filled rooms” to Washington’s political process.
House Speaker John Boehner banned all earmarks in 2011, with the support of President Obama, in a nod to increasing transparency. But defenders, including many members of the appropriations committees who hold the reins of the process, have become increasingly vocal in their protest against the current policy in recent months. “You get members with the earmarks interested in the process and actually helping to try and push forward a piece of legislation–that’s why you have them,” says Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Perhaps Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution has a better idea than restoring earmarks: Throw Them All Out.