Earmarks have received a bad name in American politics. However, many experts believe that killing off the practice of earmarks has drastically increased the difficulty of getting legislation passed.
In reality, our Representatives in both the House and the Senate are there to represent and serve their local constituencies. Those who have constituents that are less affected by a given piece of legislation are often faced with a binary yes/no decision. Earmarks allow another level of negotiation in the governing process—those representatives can generate revenue for their area that might offset the negative impacts their constituents would face in an otherwise socially desirable piece of legislation.
Some pork is a small price to pay for a functional legislature. We have to give lawmakers incentives to cooperate again.
Problems to be Solved
- It is currently exceptionally difficult to pass legislation in a system that doesn’t allow Representatives to argue for benefits for certain constituencies that are most affected by socially beneficial legislation.
- States’ rights
- Make it easier to pass legislation
- Increase the benefits of legislation to a wider constituency
As President, I will…
- Advocate for Congress to change its rules around earmarks to bring them back.