Remember that earmark ban that was all the rage this winter? Apparently it doesn't mean much to lawmakers.
A leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee indicated on Thursday that legislators have found ways to get around that ban, and are using their connections throughout government to get the funding they want.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), an appropriator, made the telling remarks on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal":
The Hill reports:
In response to a question about whether earmark bans have "curtailed" the Appropriations Committee's power, Moran responded, "No, and I have to say — and I'm going to be as candid as possible — the appropriators are going to be okay because we know people in agencies and so on. We will continue to do the best job we can for the country and to some extent for our congressional districts because that's our job as well."
According to Moran, earmarking is a fact of congressional life, it's just a matter of who does it. With the ban, he explains, the power is concentrated in the administration. He would rather see that power handed back to Congress:
"It seems to me that everyone would be far better off if Congress took back its appropriate role and distributed funds... that is in the best interest of the country and then let the executive branch weigh in so you have some balance."