GOP Leaders Name 10 Members to Earmark Panel
House Republican leaders on Friday appointed 10 Members to an earmark reform panel formed last month during GOP organizational meetings. The Republicans named to the panel are: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Judy Biggert (Ill.), Kevin Brady (Texas), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Randy Forbes (Va.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), John Mica (Fla.), Mike Simpson (Idaho) and Zach Wamp (Tenn.). GOP leaders say they launched the panel to combat Washingtons broken spending practices and called on Democrats to name 10 of their own Members to begin a bipartisan dialogue on the issue. Democratic leaders have signaled no interest in the panel or in making earmark reform a priority in the next Congress. Even rank-and-file Republicans appear reluctant to aggressively pursue the issue; during last months organizational meetings and in a blow to party leaders, they voted down a leadership-backed moratorium on earmarks. Still, the GOP panel is tasked with filing a report with earmark reform recommendations by Feb. 16. Members of this panel have a straightforward but serious responsibility: thoughtfully examining the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars and recommending the next steps for reform, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. Boehner said the panel will build on earmark reforms that have been endorsed by Republicans, such as ending the practice of monuments being named after the Members sponsoring them and airdropping earmarks into legislation at the last minute.