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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 11/17/2010

Spending is fun, cutting is hard

By Ezra Klein

The House Appropriations Committee used to be the committee everyone wanted to serve on, because it was the committee that got to spend money. If you were on that committee, a larger-than-average amount of that money got spent on your district, and so you got reelected. But now that Republicans are taking away earmarks and vowing to cut spending, the GOP is having trouble recruiting new members for the Appropriations Committee. Making cuts is popular, but being the guy (or girl) with the knife is not.

By Ezra Klein  | November 17, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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Those guys are idiots. Except for perhaps the other money committee, Ways and Means, its the best committee in the House.

The end of earmmarks just changes who you negotiate with. Instead of logrolling with fellow legislators, you logroll with the Department officials who will be left with more discretion to allocate funds in lieu of earmarks.

Its analogous to mandatory minimum laws that took power from judges to impose lenient sentences, plea bargaining still happened, thel laws just shifted the power from the judge to the prosecutor. Besides, earmarks are too irresistible to stay gone long.

Posted by: beowulf_ | November 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Did they know this already before the election?

"Boehner offers plum committees to GOP challengers

...For example, Boehner promised newly elected Republican Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii his support for a seat on the House Appropriations Committee. Democrats are making a special effort to unseat Djou after he won a special election in May when two Democrats on the ballot split the party's vote."

In contrast, Hanabusa, the Democrat who beat Djou in the general said after the election, "...of course, [she] would like to serve on the Appropriations Committee but recognizes she must 'pay my dues' first."

Posted by: tuber | November 17, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like the conservative activists who were pushing for lawmakers to take the earmark pledge knew whereof they spoke when they claimed that there was a lot more at stake than the few billions of expenditures. If the Appropriations Committee loses all the big spenders and the deck is stacked with those who have an interest in reducing spending, the payoff to the taxpayer is enormous.

Posted by: bgmma50 | November 17, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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