First District freshman Cong. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, is reportedly reconsidering his pledge to not seek earmarks.
Crawford and many GOP candidates in the 2010 elections made earmark reform and no pork barrel spending a lynchpin of their campaigns.
Today (April 8), the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Crawford is reconsidering that position.
“Constituents expect their congressman to bring back as many federal dollars as they can,” he said. “I’m only one voice in a very large geographic area. We’ve kind of hit a brick wall” without the ability to earmark projects.
Crawford conditioned his support of earmarks on Congress adopting rules that would require members to list earmark requests at least one week before a vote on them. He said he’s not worried that the practice will increase the federal deficit and described using earmarks as a way to ensure that spending decisions are left to members of Congress familiar with their districts instead of “Washington bureaucrats.”
As a candidate in the 2010 race, Crawford was one of many Republicans who signed a “No Pork Pledge,” promoted by Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington group that advocates for a smaller federal budget.
In the pledge, Crawford affirmed that he would not request any “pork-barrel earmark.”
The group used several criteria to describe pork, including a project that was requested by only one member of Congress; a project not previously authorized by Congress; a project not requested by the president or competitively awarded; a project that is not the subject of congressional hearings; or a project that serves only a local or special interest.
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