Democrat gives GOP earmark deadline

May 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- The Democratic chairman of a U.S. House committee has given Republicans a deadline for withdrawing earmarks from a water projects bill.

Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., who heads the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Thursday earmarks will stay in the bill unless their sponsors pull them within 12 days, The Washington Post reported. Republican House leaders called in March for an earmark moratorium, while Democrats said they would not introduce earmarks for profit-making companies.

Earmarks are appropriations added to bills for specific projects.

Four Republicans have publicly said they would not follow the moratorium, including Don Young of Alaska, a member of the committee and the representative behind the notorious "bridge to nowhere," and freshman Anh "Joseph" Cao, who has said his New Orleans district needs federal aid to cope with the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The others are Henry Brown Jr. of South Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas.

Rep. John Mica of Florida, the ranking Republican on the committee, said many of his members have already asked him to remove their earmarks but Oberstar has not received the paperwork yet.

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