For those tracking how serious Republicans are about changing Washington’s spending culture, here are two items worth noticing.
First, three spending subcommittee chairmen — Republican Reps. Mike Simpson (Idaho), Frank Wolf (Va.), and Robert Aderholt (Ala.) — told The Hill that they think the ban on earmarks should be temporary. Simpson made the case that lawmakers, with their knowledge of their own districts, are better qualified to make certain spending decisions, while Aderholt argued that the earmark process should eventually be reformed, not eliminated.
Second, an amendment to House rules proposed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) that would have made it more difficult to transfer money cut from one program to fund a different program was not passed by House Republicans last week when they voted on the rules. Under Jordan’s amendment, any money cut from one program would only be allowed to fund another program if a majority of the entire House voted for the transfer. Under current rules, only good faith prevents the Appropriations Committee from spending that money on a different program. According to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, House speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders opposed the Jordan amendment, even though House budget chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) supported it.