House Republicans Thursday vowed to stop the practice of inserting earmarks in legislation for one year. Earmarks are provisions inserted into spending bills that direct that funds be spent on a particular project, usually within the earmarking lawmaker's district.
The announcement comes on the heels of a move by House Democrats to ban earmarks to for-profit corporations. Such earmarks often benefit companies that make campaign contributions to the lawmaker who inserted them.
The move to limit earmarks comes as both parties seek to cast themselves as enemies of irresponsible spending heading into the November midterm elections.
"For millions of Americans, the earmark process in Congress has become a symbol of a broken Washington," House Republican Leader John Boehner said as the Republicans' one-year ban was announced. "Today House Republicans took an important step toward showing the American people we're serious about reform by adopting an immediate, unilateral ban on all earmarks."
At a press conference Thursday, Boehner said the move will "begin a process for bringing more transparency and actability to how we spend the American people's money."
Republican Whip Eric Cantor said the decision shows "we want to reform how the American taxpayer dollars are spent." He took aim at Democrats, saying their promise to run an open and ethical Congress "is being broken every day."
That claim was echoed by another member of the Republican leadership, Mike Pence, who said "House Republicans are making a clear break from the past."
According to the Associated Press, thousands of GOP earmarks requests will now be withdrawn.