Pelosi Formally Rejects GOP’s Earmark Moratorium

Rob Bluey /

Facing a potentially embarrassing defeat on earmarks tomorrow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally decided to say something about Republicans’ request for an immediate earmark moratorium. In a letter to Minority Leader John Boehner tonight, Pelosi makes several misleading or downright inaccurate claims about the Democrats’ attempts to curtail earmarks.

The letter arrived only after Boehner and Whip Roy Blunt promised a showdown over earmarks tomorrow on a bill to reauthorize a higher education program. Boehner and Blunt had grown frustrated by Pelosi’s unwillingness to even reply to their request for an immediate earmark moratorium.

In her letter, Pelosi claimed Democrats instituted tough new rules related to earmarks and cut the number in half. Her first assertion has been challenged by conservatives such as Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint because the rules don’t go nearly far enough to bring transparency to the earmarking process. Her claim that Democrats cut the number of pork-barrel projects in half is completely false. There were 2,658 earmarks in fiscal 2007 and 11,043 in fiscal 2008. (See this chart above for more information.)

But most disappointing is Pelosi’s refusal to even ask her own caucus to adopt the new earmark standards Republicans have already unilaterally adopted.

The letter is below. (more…)