Steve Ellis, vice president for Taxpayers for Common Sense, said there is little difference between appropriations earmarks and authorizing earmarks.
There is real cash attached to this bill, he said. An earmark is an earmark.
Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) agreed with Ellis and said he was sticking to his pledge because he still believes the earmark process needs to be reformed.
I have heard from constituents that are concerned about the five-year nature of the bill, said Pence, noting that it will be years before he has another chance to request highway projects.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will not file requests either, their offices said.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said the point of the authorization bill is to one day spend the money and that there was little distinction in the highway bill between an earmark and a Member-requested high-priority project.
If I adopt a baby alligator, it eventually grows up, he said.