Don't assume I'm singling out the appropriators; I'm not, he added. Over decades, in my view, authorizing committees in the House and Senate have also abdicated their responsibility, often authorizing billions of dollars, knowing full well they will never actually be appropriated. Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was unconvinced by Boehners pledge and said the Republican record pointed to another reality. Leading independent advocates for Congressional reform credit House Democrats for taking tough action that ensured unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency, Elshami said in a statement. No speech or pledge by Mr. Boehner is going to change the Republicans dismal record.Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Christopher Van Hollen (Md.) hammered back against Boehner and the Republican agenda, saying it demonstrates the GOPs continued close ties with special interests since the K Street Project, an effort that then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay started in 1995 to install Republicans into top-tier lobbying jobs.This fusion between special interests on K Street and the legislative agenda of the Republican Party and what were finding out when were looking at their platform and their recommendation is that fusion remains to this day, Van Hollen said.He also criticized Republicans for not including earmark reform in their agenda. I challenge anyone to find anything in there about earmark reform, he said of the 47-page document.Van Hollen said Democrats have made progress by significantly reducing the number of earmarks, making them transparent and banning earmarks to for-profit companies. Its very clear they would return to that since they did not mention it in their document, he said of appropriating earmarks to companies.Anna Palmer contributed to this report.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.