Uh, Oh: GOP Wakes to World Without Earmarks

Conservatives scramble to get cash for legit transportation projects
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 8:42 AM CST
Minnesota 6th district Rep. Michele Bachmann preps for an interview in Bloomington, Minn. Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/Andy King)
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(Newser) – Killing earmarks in an era of big government and bigger deficits sure sounded like great conservative politics at the party last night, but none other than the House GOP is waking up with a hangover, wondering "What were we thinking?" As Politico reports, it turns out that ix-naying porky projects like the bridge to nowhere also meant defunding a lot of legitimate bridges to somewhere. And it has the likes of Michele Bachmann and Steve King now scrambling to get cash for transportation projects in their districts.

Potential workarounds include revising the definition of earmark, lobbying executive agencies for cash (dubbed "phone marking" and "letter marking"), and sneaking funding through the back door of the Senate, which has no such ban. “This isn’t trying to be too cute by half of what is an earmark and what isn’t,” says Bachmann, who wants an exemption on “roads, bridges, and interchanges." “But we have to address the issue of how are we going to fund transportation projects across the country?”

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