WASHINGTON – Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, said Monday he will once again this year not seek out any earmarks in the federal budget. He is one of three Democrats and 37 Republicans who’ve declined to seek out earmarks, his office said
People want Congress to spend less money and they "want us to approach major issues in an independent way, Minnick said Monday in a statement.
"One significant step I can take to show I am serious about heeding those lessons is to refuse earmarks," Minnick said. "We want more elected officials with the courage to put constituents and fiscal responsibility before politics."
Earmarks, which got a bad name in recent years as federal spending ballooned, have been criticized for giving the most powerful lawmakers to determine spending on pet projects -- rather than need or merit. Earmarks aren't reviewed by relevant committees or even state agencies, and are often tacked onto unrelated congressional bills.
Both of Idaho's Republican senators submit earmark requests, often together. And Minnick's Republican counterpart, Rep. Mike Simpson, sits on the House Appropriations committee and also seeks out earmarks. Simpson puts all of his earmark requests on his website.