Earmarks are gone
but requests aren’t
I recently had the opportunity to network with the Des Moines Partnership delegation during their opening cocktail reception at Union Station. As you can see, they had quite the crowd!
And, earlier this week I received this email from GR Division Chair, Jay Byers:
"As chambers across the country are looking to reposition their DC fly-ins in the post earmark world, the editorial that the Des Moines Register ran on May 22 on the Des Moines Partnership trip does a nice job of making our case on how we modified our trip this year." Read the full article: Earmarks are gone, but requests aren’t
Columnist Rox Laird tackles a sticky point for chambers that are used to visiting Washington to lobby for earmarks. He quotes U.S. Rep Tom Latham, R-IA as saying “Washington is a different town that it was even a year ago. The conversation today is not ‘How much will you spend?’ but ‘How much can we keep at home.’”
Laird says that with “earmark” being a dirty word, you would think the Des Moines Partnership’s trip would be pointless, but that’s not the case. The partnership had a long list of projects to pitch to lawmakers and federal agencies, and it didn’t include only spending requests. There were policy issues that affect central Iowa’s economy, security and quality of life.
Laird ends the article saying “no matter how the money is raised or how it is doled out, the federal government will always play a major role in building and maintaining the nation, whether it be highways and bridges, flood-control projects, airports or public education.” And that is exactly why a federal fly-in during "earmark unfriendly" times is far from pointless.