Is Michele Bachmann Open to Compromises on Tax Cuts, Earmarks?

Yes on tax cuts, but only if that compromise does not include an extension of unemployment benefits — a plan favored by congressional Democrats and the Obama White House.

Appearing on Good Morning America Tuesday, the Minnesota congresswoman told George Stephanopoulos that she’d prefer to see the current tax policy extended “as far into the future as we possibly can,” but that American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it by having to take on even more spending.

While praising Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for his recent support of a GOP moratorium on earmarks, Bachmann has also diverged from the party line — and tea party mantra — to insist that such a ban on earmarks should exclude some items, namely transportation projects.

On Tuesday morning, Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she’d like to clarify the definition of “earmarks” and exclude transportation projects from that category of pork spending.

“Advocating for transportation projects for ones district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Bachmann said. ‪”I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark… There’s a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway.”

The Star-Tribune notes that Bachmann “did solicit some earmarks when she first came to Congress” but “has been outspoken in pushing House Republicans to continue an earmark moratorium enacted last year.”

It’s unclear whether Bachmann’s fiscally conservative tea party supporters would endorse her proposed earmark redefinition.

The standard definition of earmarks is any funding project that does not go through the normal federal appropriations process and is slipped into a legislative bill, often at the last minute.  A ban on earmarks then would not prohibit individual members of Congress from “advocating for transportation projects,” as the congresswoman suggests.  Instead, these spending projects would require the approval of other members of Congress through conventional legislative channels.

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