Tag Archives: earmarks

Fincher, Fleischmann Seek Tariff Earmarks

Rep. Stephen Fincher and other freshman Republicans have touted the ban on congressional earmarks that passed after they took office last year as a step toward reducing wasteful government spending, reports the Gannett Washington bureau.
But Fincher, Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, and 63 other first-term Republican lawmakers now stand accused of betraying that spirit of fiscal restraint by pushing for consideration of a tariff measure loaded with breaks for specific imports. Critics say such breaks qualify as earmarks.
The lawmakers signed an April 20 letter asking House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to consider a measure that would suspend duties on certain imports unavailable in the U.S. in an effort to lower costs for domestic manufacturers.
“It is already 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in America relative to our major competitors,” the lawmakers wrote. “The way to build manufacturing in America and create high-paying jobs is to reduce those costs – not to raise them.”
Lawmakers must propose lowering tariffs on a specific import before April 30 for the proposal to be included in the overall tariff measure. Typically, lawmakers rely on recommendations from companies in their districts to decide which imports to favor – similar to how lawmakers chose local pet projects to fund before Congress banned earmarks last year.
House rules say a tariff suspension qualifies as an earmark if it benefits no more than 10 companies.
The freshmen who signed the letter said they don’t think such tariff breaks are earmarks because they benefit more than just one congressional district.
…Although more than two-thirds of Republican freshmen signed the letter, Tennessee Republican Reps. Diane Black and Scott DesJarlais didn’t.

Republicans Resolve House-Senate Earmark War

House and Senate Republican leaders settled their differences over earmarks in a $31 billion state budget during a conference committee Friday night, leaving the two chambers to meet Monday and sign off on the deal would end the 107th General Assembly.
Democrats vowed to file an alternative plan to the Republican agreement that would provide more money to community colleges.
The House-Senate conference committee was set up late Friday after the Senate on Friday morning passed a budget plan in substantial conflict over earmarks with the House version adopted Thursday.
The House had cut about $1.8 million in special projects that had been approved by the Senate Finance Committee. In retaliation, the Senate voted to cut another $22 million in House-approved projects – the largest being $12 million to complete a West Tennessee Megasite. The Senate cuts also included $4 million for spending related Lambuth University in Jackson, a private school that has been made a branch of the University of Memphis.
“That was one of the slickest threats I ever heard in my life,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner told Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris at one point.

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