Bill Young's GOP one-ups the earmark war
WASHINGTON — In a rapid display of gamesmanship, House Republicans vowed Thursday to ban all budget earmarks, a day after Democrats said they would not award them to for-profit companies.
The move reflects growing public concern over government spending and follows recent ethics investigations into "pay-to-play" connections between lawmakers, special interests and political contributions.
"Earmarks have become emblematic of everything that is wrong with spending here in Washington, D.C.," said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the Republican Conference.
But the reception from Florida's biggest earmarker — indeed, one of the country's top practitioners — was more subdued. "The fact they are making it across the board, makes it far more acceptable," said Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, who has used earmarks to greatly boost the defense contractor industry in the Tampa Bay area.
"It was something that was going to happen eventually, so why not now?" Young said, alluding to efforts in the past several years to make the process more transparent. (story here)