Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Political Reform that Matters

The editors of National Review point out that an important vote is looming in the House of Representatives. They will not be voting on legislation, but on a change in internal House rules that would accomplish important political reform by making legislative earmarks more transparent:

Under the new rules, the House Appropriations Committee would be required to provide a list of earmarks in each bill: who added them, who will benefit from them, and how much they will cost.

This rule would also apply to authorized spending like last year’s bloated transportation bill, making it even more comprehensive than the earmark reforms proposed in the House lobbying-reform bill. In addition, it would require the disclosure of special tax breaks to single beneficiaries, thus exposing “tax earmarks.” As a House rule change, it would apply only to House bills — but any earmarks added in conference and then returned to the House would also have to be disclosed before a final vote.

While the vote on these rules changes will not decide whether Republicans will hold their majority in the House, it might determine whether they deserve to. It will be a close vote. Those in both parties who view taxpayer money as a supplemental personal campaign war chest are opposed.

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