By: Brian Sikma
Count on conservative Republicans to raise the bar higher than the Democrats. Although elected in ‘06 on a platform that proclaimed reform, Democrats have done little in the way of substantively reforming the process of pork barrel spending. It took House Republicans to call for a one year hold on earmarks and it took House Democrats to turn them down on the offer.
Although the problem of pork barrel spending is a blight in both parties, Republican candidates at every level are taking the initiative to call for a suspension of earmarks until real reform can be put in place. In Indiana three congressional candidates have taken up the call for reform by calling for a zero-earmark policy until changes can be made. Former Republican Study Committee chairman Mike Pence has announced that he will not be making any appropriations request for fiscal year 2009 because “…it is clear to most Americans that the way Congress spends the people’s money is broken, especially when it comes to earmarks.”
The two other candidates calling for a moratorium on earmarks are Luke Puckett, running against Joe Donnelly (D) in CD 2, and Mike Sodrel, facing off against Baron Hill (D) in CD 9. Puckett is advocating for a two year suspension of the earmark process and Sodrel released a statement on Friday calling for a 1 year suspension stating “Earmarks can be beneficial when much needed dollars are sent to local communities, but the system needs to be fair, responsible, and transparent.”