Lobbyists Out In The Cold After House Earmark Ban

03.12.10 | FL News Team

A Congressional ban on earmarks has put lobbyists on the run. Earmarks are no-bid contracts awarded to U.S. representatives' pet projects. Until this week, the practice of larding up appropriations bills with such earmarks was business-as-usual on Capitol Hill. Last year alone it resulted in one-point-seven-billion dollars going to businesses that didn't have to compete for taxpayer dollars.

 Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to adopt a new policy that bars businesses from getting earmarked dollars. Republicans upped the stakes yesterday by agreeing to forego earmarks even for nonprofits for the coming budget year. The Senate so far has been tellingly silent on whether they'll take similar action. If they don't, it could spell trouble when the two chambers go to reconcile their different versions of the federal budget.