Dave Obey Asks About Earmark Intentions

House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) renewed the debate over congressional earmark requests Wednesday by circulating a questionnaire asking his Republican counterparts if they would agree to a one-year moratorium on these lawmaker-requested spending projects.
The survey is clearly intended to put pressure on GOP lawmakers who have been calling for reform but continue to submit project requests for next year's budget bills. "In light of the continuing discussion on earmarks in the Republican Conference, the Appropriations Committee needs to determine how it would proceed," Obey said in the letter.
The questionnaire, which went to every member of the Republican conference, asks lawmakers to check one box if they believe "the House should suspend earmarks for the year" and will "therefore be submitting no earmark requests" and another if they believe "the House should continue to provide responsible earmarks at a reasonable level."
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has never requested an earmark during his 18 years in Congress, has pushed variations of a moratorium all year, but his members have failed to rally around a single antidote. In the interim, he tried to bait Democrats into supporting a multi-lateral disarmament, but Democratic leaders have not seriously addressed his invitation. 
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