Ideas. Action. Results.

Tom Daschle and Jason Grumet: Grease the Wheels

U.S. News and World Report

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The holiday season has given way to the new year’s resolution season, a magical time when all things seem possible, from the personal (2015 is going to be the year I shed those 30 extra pounds – seriously for me) to the mundane (maybe the New York Jets will get a competent general manager this year) to the national – can the country’s leaders resolve to mobilize the mechanism of government once again?

I have a suggestion on that last item: This year, congressional leaders should resolve to dust off the pork barrel and bring back earmarking. I’m not talking about the gluttonous form of the practice where earmarks were seemingly passed around like hors d’oeuvres at a congressional Christmas party. The idea of “in all things moderation” is true, and it applies to both earmarks and their reforms…

“The puritanical notion that members of Congress should not seek to advance local interests is nutty,” says Jason Grumet, who runs the Bipartisan Policy Center and recently wrote “City of Rivals,” which advocates for, among other things, resurrecting earmarks in order to break gridlock. “We want members of Congress to take tough votes to prioritize the nation over their electoral interests, and if we refuse them the ability to show their constituents anything beneficial resulting from their time in office, they don’t have a lot of margin to take those tough votes.”