Republicans have unveiled their 21-page “Pledge to America” but there is one pledge that the potential House Speaker-in-waiting won’t make. When asked several times Sunday, Rep. John Boehner refused to say that he would put an end to all earmarks if Republicans take over the House.
“Why is there no mention of ending earmarks in this document?” Wallace asked Boehner on Fox News Sunday.
“Today, we have a moratorium on earmarks,” Boehner answered. “And I can tell you that if Republicans win the majority in November, it will not be business as usual here in Congress.”
“It’s a one-year moratorium that ends in March,” noted Wallace. “A number of your top leaders, including Congressman Jerry Lewis who will likely be the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, wants earmarks back. Are you willing to pledge right now if you take over the House, the Republicans do, earmarks will be gone forever?” he asked.
Boehner deflected the question. “It will not be business as usual in Washington, DC.”
“That’s not answering my question, sir,” pressed Wallace.
“It will not be business as usual,” Boehner repeated.
The House Minority Leader also criticized the Democratic leadership for its expected decision to delay a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts past the November election.
Boehner called the idea “the most irresponsible thing that I have seen since I have been in Washington, DC … And I have been here a while.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who appeared with Boehner on Fox News Sunday, argued the Democratic leadership decided to delay the vote because there are 37 Democrats who want to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest households — a plan the party leadership opposes.
“The Democrats have failed to lead on this,” McCarthy said. He suggested the delay is making it difficult for companies to make decisions. “It’s keeping capital on the sidelines.”
Appearing later in the same program, Bill Kristol said the GOP’s “pledge” was “a step on the way to boldness.”
While Boehner wouldn’t promise to end earmarks, Kristol was quick to promise they wouldn’t be used. “If Republicans take the House there will be such sentiment of the Tea Party nature that they will not in my view do earmarks.”
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Sept. 26, 2010.