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GOP Leaders Lay Down Rules for Earmark Ban

House Republican leaders sent GOP Members a guidance document Tuesday to explain the unilateral, across-the-board earmark ban and warn their Members against trying to circumvent the new Conference rule.

The moratorium passed the GOP Conference by voice vote last week, but many House Republicans and their aides complained privately that in their rush to pass the ban, GOP leaders failed to consider how it would affect huge authorizing bills such as those that deal with transportation- and defense-related spending.

The four-page memo, obtained by Roll Call, reiterated that the moratorium affects all earmarks — including those that are tariff-and tax-related — as well as those made for defense, transportation and other authorizing bills.

“Members who submitted requests for the FY ’11 Appropriations process and/or the FY ’11 National Defense Authorization bill should work with the Committee contact and withdraw those requests prior to the request deadline,” the memo said.

It also outlined how Members should go about withdrawing requests already made to the various authorizing committees and included a sample of a withdrawal letter.

Several House Republicans said the ban was fairly unpopular within the Conference but passed because leadership announced support for the measure the night before last week’s Conference-wide vote.

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