The list of members of Congress who have given up earmarks seems to grow by the day. According to the Club for Growth’s tally, it now totals 33 House members and seven senators. And despite the setback last week in the Senate, that hasn’t dissuaded members from coming out for a voluntary one-year moratorium.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) announced last Friday in a YouTube video that he would voluntarily swear off earmarks this year. Reichert said he was proud to support the GOP’s call for a moratorium in January. But with Democrats dawdling and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocking action, Reichert decided to take matters into his own hands.
Reichert was joined last week by former Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who said it was time to end the practice of earmarking as it currently exists. “After years of attempting to reform the earmarking system from within,” Pence said, “I have decided that I can no longer be a party to a deeply flawed system, and therefore, I will not be making any appropriation requests for fiscal year 2009.”
What’s striking about both Reichert and Pence is that both have had a penchant for pork in previous years. Their willingness to suddenly give it up in the name of reform is a positive development that other lawmakers should follow. They are leading by example, showing their constituents that there’s more to being a congressman than bringing home the bacon.