Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick has announced that he’ll refrain from seeking any earmarks in Congress in 2010, just as he did in 2009. He’s the only one in Idaho’s four-member congressional delegation who refrains from the earmark process, which lawmakers use to send federal money to specific projects, often in their districts or for specific constituents. “The unambiguous lesson of November 2008 and of last week’s election is that the American people want Congress to spend less money, and want us to approach major issues in an independent way,” Minnick said in a statement. “One significant step I can take to show I am serious about heeding those lessons is to refuse earmarks.”
Minnick’s no-earmark stance has won him the praise of the conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth - the same group that bankrolled the first campaign of former GOP Rep. Bill Sali, whom Minnick defeated last year. Minnick is one of three Democrats and 37 Republicans in Congress who refuse to participate in earmarks; Sen. John McCain is the biggest name on the list. The first-term Idaho Democrat said he’s been able to obtain money for his district without earmarks either through the normal appropriation process, or by helping folks from the district apply for federal grants and other programs.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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