About that earmark ‘ban’

ABOUT THAT EARMARK ‘BAN’…. The headline reads, “House GOP Adopts Earmark Moratorium.” Given that Republicans have been in mad, passionate love with earmarks for years, it seemed like an interesting change of pace.

In an election-year appeal to voters frustrated with Washington, House Republicans promised Thursday not to stuff any of this year’s spending bills with pet projects for their districts.

The promise comes a day after House Democrats banned earmarks to for-profit companies, ending a practice that in many cases created a cozy ”pay-to-play” culture involving lawmakers and businesses whose Washington lobbyists often use campaign donations to help assure access.

Before anyone gets too impressed, though, it’s worth paying attention to the fine print.

The House GOP ban is for the rest of 2010.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations committee, told reporters the caucus’s move was “only temporary.” Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) conceded that the so-called ban is “all about November,” in apparent reference to the midterm elections.

So, when we see reports about Republicans forswearing earmarks, after quadrupling the number of earmarks during their years in the majority, there’s reason for some skepticism.