Prominent Republican says she opposes earmarks… except earmarks she supports

By David Edwards
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 14:25 EDT
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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) wants to ban all earmarks — except for the ones that she supports.

In a Tuesday interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minnesota Republican explained that she wanted to “redefine” earmarks so that transportation projects are not included in a proposed ban.

“Advocating for transportation projects for ones district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” she told the Star Tribune.

“I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark,” Bachmann said. “There’s a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway.”

Under Bachmann’s rules, projects like the Gravina Island “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska would be allowed.

With urging from tea party activists, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) proposed an earmark ban last week. As of Monday afternoon, 27 Senate Republicans supported the ban.

Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY), who pushed for an end to earmarks during his campaign, told the Wall Street Journal that he would fight for Kentucky’s share of money if the ban wasn’t enacted.

“I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he added.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R_KY) reversed himself and endorsed the ban Monday. Only a week ago, McConnell had said that eliminating earmarks would not cut the deficit.

“The problem is it doesn’t save any money,” McConnell told CBS’ Bob Schieffer.

“There are many members of my conference who have said, ‘I don’t want the president to make all the decisions about how the funds are spent that might be allocated in my state,’” McConnell said.

President Barack Obama has called for significant earmark reform and a three-year spending freeze.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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