U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, the new chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is pushing back hard on talks about bringing back earmarks.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the North Carolina Republican said lifting the ban on earmarks is inconsistent with President-elect Donald Trump’s goal to “drain the swamp.”
“I think to bring back earmarks at this particular juncture sends entirely the wrong message and is actually going the other way,” Meadows said. “It won’t drain the swamp, it will actually fill the swamp.”
“I think we can be fiscally responsible, make good legislation, hopefully work with President-elect Trump and his administration to get the priorities that are important to the American people,” he added. “But to bring back the earmark ban is, certainly… the timing could not be worse.”
The Washington Times reported Sunday that Senate Republicans “are poised to restore earmarks unless opponents muster the votes to stop them in a secret ballot Tuesday.” The newspaper said House Speaker Paul Ryan “is under severe pressure from his members and has agreed to study the issue.”
Among the GOP lawmakers in the House wanting to see a return to pork-barrel spending are U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and John Shimkus, Republicans from Illinois, according to the Southern Illinoisan.
Those pushing for earmarks argue that Congress has the power of the purse and is charged with the task of directing federal money.
Cavuto and Meadows went on to discuss the virtues of Congress maintaining the power of the purse, tax reform and making government more business friendly.
Meadows noted that he hasn’t “heard anybody back home saying please bring back earmarks!”
What do you think, should the ban be lifted to allow Congress more leverage to get things done, or should earmarks remain forbidden?