Earmarks Banned

Just like that, and the House has banned earmarks for the 112th Congress. The long sought after restriction on legislative excess was unanimously agreed to today by House Republicans to be applicable for all members of the next Congress. WSJ has the story:

The House measure was offered by Rep.-elect Sean Duffy, the Wisconsin Republican who won the House seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Obey, who has been Appropriations Committee chairman.

While the vote is an obvious nod to the new Republicans, it’s also a big win for House Minority Leader John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting, who has never requested an earmark and tried — unsuccessfully — for years to impose a ban.

“Earmarks have become a symbol of a Congress that has broken faith with the people,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement afterward. “This earmark ban shows the American people we are listening and we are dead serious about ending business as usual in Washington.

Okay, so the GOP has actually shocked the world and held to at least one of their pledges. And it was relatively painless. The only serious question is whether the House will accept Senate earmarks—or if the Senate Dems will get on board. Next issue? I think they get tougher from here.