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Sasse leads way to Republican ban on earmarks

May 24, 2019 GMT

Sen. Ben Sasse won approval Thursday of his proposal that Republican senators, organized as the Senate Republican Conference, permanently ban appropriations earmarks by individual senators.

“The last thing taxpayers need is for the same politicians who racked up a $22 trillion national debt to go on an earmark binge,” Sasse said following the vote.

A number of subsequent reports on Twitter accounts pegged the vote on his motion as 28-12.

Congressional Republicans succeeded in banning the practice of allowing appropriations earmarks by individual lawmakers in 2011. That moratorium expired in January.


“It’s pretty simple,” Sasse said. “Earmarks are a crummy way to govern and they have no business in Congress.

“Backroom deals, kickbacks and earmarks feed a culture of constant incumbency and that’s poisonous to healthy self-government,” he said.

While Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, the House now counts a majority of Democratic members, and they have sought in vain to gain bipartisan agreement on some amended version of the previous earmark practice.

Sasse originally had planned to seek a new two-year ban on earmarks, but subsequently decided to propose a permanent ban following a 45-minute discussion among Republican members of the Senate.