The debate over “earmarks is far from finished in the Senate, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) signaled in a recent letter to colleagues,” The Hill reports.
Boxer and Inhofe have asked senators to submit requests for specific projects in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a multiyear authorization bill, despite a pledge from President Obama to veto all legislation that includes earmarks.
The water resources authorization bill represents rare common ground for Boxer and Inhofe, who clashed during most of the 111th Congress over proposals to cap carbon emissions.
Boxer, the chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Inhofe, ranking Republican on the panel, were careful not to include the word “earmark” in their letter, sent Friday.
Instead, they ask colleagues to “provide the committee with specific project and programmatic requests you would like considered for inclusion in this bill,” according to a copy obtained by The Hill.
“We believe Congress has a constitutional role to play in determining spending priorities for the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program,” they wrote. “Without congressional input, the administration would be the sole voice in setting water resources priorities.”
The lawmakers, however, note the “requests might have to be disclosed under the requirements of Senate Rule 44, which many senators believe defines earmarks.”
Rule 44 requires disclosure of congressionally directed spending that recommends budget authority, credit authority or expenditure to an entity or specific state or locality.