Israel Won’t Wait for New Earmark Rules to Take Hold

Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:54am

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) is taking earmark reforms announced by House leaders yesterday a step further — he said he will not seek any earmarks for for-profit companies until the new reforms are implemented and proven effective.

“Until these earmark reform proposals and mechanisms are in place and fully embraced by my colleagues, I do not feel comfortable engaging honestly in a practice which others seem intent on abusing,— Israel said in a statement.

Israel, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, said he also would work to continue reforming the earmarking process.

The new House rules, announced by Democratic leaders and endorsed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, would require competitive bidding for earmarks for for-profit companies and give the administration at least 20 days to review all earmark requests.

Critics have complained that the rules would not prohibit the practice of funneling earmarks through a nonprofit middleman company to for-profit firms.