In The Examiner Rep. John Boehner, the Republican House leader, declares victory in the effort to have earmarks disclosed earlier in the process.
As part of the deal completed after extensive negotiations that ended late today, Republicans agreed to allow two appropriations bills (Homeland Security and Military Quality of Life) – bills that include few or no earmarks – to move forward immediately. All 10 remaining appropriations bills will come to the floor later with their earmarks fully disclosed and subject to challenge by any lawmaker…
Boehner trumpets this as a win for the GOP, and Republicans certainly deserve credit for insisting that Democrats–particularly Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee–live up to the spirit of the earmark disclosure reforms they passed in January. But ultimately, this is a win for both parties, and more importantly the American people. Transparency, accountability and open government are the means of ensuring good government; to the extent that lawmakers act openly, public confidence in government will be restored.
I suspect though that even with the new rules and this agreement to abide by them, there will still be lawmakers who try to act in secret, resulting in bills loaded with hidden earmarks.