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Conservative Group Blasts Tariff ‘Earmarks’

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Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist worked quickly to distance his organization from a memo criticizing a House tariff bill proposal as an earmark.

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) has argued that the proposals are clear violations of House rules. For appropriators, the issue is fairness: They are not permitted to provide spending earmarks in appropriations bills.

Camp argues that the tariff proposals arent technically earmarks because they are available to anyone who wants to import the type of goods designated by the legislation.

Critics have pointed to eight bills introduced by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) that would benefit a company in his district owned by a top campaign donor. And a Heritage Action analysis showed the vast majority of the 1,300 bills would benefit 10 entities or less, thus fitting the House definition of earmark for tariff bills.

The miscellaneous tariff bill process specifically requires Members disclose whether the benefits of the provisions are broadly available and therefore not earmarks, Swinehart has said.

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