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Fiscal conservatives are mobilizing against any effort to reinstate earmarks, those specific spending requests that can help flip a lawmaker from a “no” to a “yes” on a bill, amid rumors that Congress might bring them back now that Republicans will soon control the House, Senate and White House.

Lawmakers in both chambers agreed to ban earmarks several years ago after several pork-barrel scandals emerged, including Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young’s infamous $220 million “bridge to nowhere,” which led to public ridicule.

There has already been some talk of bringing back earmarks in order to help boost the prospect of a water resource bill.

Heritage Action’s Michael Needham Monday night called on House Republicans to preserve the earmark ban and reject any effort to jettison it, saying such a move is “likely” when the House GOP considers its conference rules for the next Congress later this week.

“Americans in both parties are fed up with cronyism and corruption in Washington, and seven days ago they delivered a stunning message to the nation’s ruling class,” Needham said in a statement released Monday night. “Any attempt to roll back the longstanding ban on congressional earmarks – the lubricant that empowers politicians to cut bad deals – would mount to a rebuke of those voters.”

“Americans deserve an honest, transparent government that is working for everyone, not simply doling out favors for a well-connected few,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., already shot down any chance that Republican leaders could resurrect the earmark moratorium now that they control the White House and Congress.

“I don’t think so,” McConnell said when asked about the possibility the day after the election last week.

Some Republicans in leadership positions in the House and Senate have quietly advocated for bringing the practice back because it gives the Speaker and other GOP leaders a lever to use when lawmakers, usually on the right, are bucking their agenda and creating gridlock headaches.

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But fiscal conservatives have generally rejected such an effort as a return to the days when Appropriations Committee members could easily insert the pet projects into a must-pass spending bill and GOP leaders could reward loyal rank-and-file members with the sometimes multi-million dollar line-items.

Opponents cite the indictment and conviction of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., who pushed for earmarks for defense contractors who bought his house for an inflated price, as well as the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal involving the approval of several Indian casino gaming licenses and unrelated earmarks requests members agreed to for his clients.

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