Chris Wallace does his best to make sure Chris Van Hollen can’t adequately respond to him when pointing out the Republicans hypocrisy with their temporary ban on all earmarks which as Van Hollen tries to point out is nothing more than an election year stunt. As he noted if they were serious about doing reform, they’d have done it when they were in power and they’d be pushing for permanent changes and not temporary ones.
Wallace: Congressman Van Hollen this week House Democrats announced a one year ban on earmarks—those are the individual members’ pet projects going to for profit corporations—then House Republicans announced a one year ban on all earmarks, for profit corporations, to anyone. Will House Democrats join House Republicans in a one year ban on all earmarks?
Van Hollen: Let me say Chris, I’ve got to smile when my Republican colleagues talk about earmark reform. For sixteen years when they had the Congress they did nothing. The test of whether you’re serious is what you do when you have the power to change it. Not what you say when you don’t. Earmarks quadrupled during those sixteen years. The first day of the new Democratic Congress in 2007 we put in place transparency reforms, accountability reforms, we can no longer tuck these pet projects in the middle of the night into the…
Wallace: Sir you’re not answering my question.
Van Hollen: I’m going to get there. I think it’s important to lay this predicate. We also passed a provision that says that you have to sign a conflict of interest disclosure. You can’t ask for earmarks where you have an interest…
Wallace: We’re going to run out of time.
Van Hollen: Okay Chris. The answer to your question is we have passed a major change in terms of banning nonprofits and it’s a permanent change. What they’ve said is they’re going to do a temporary moratorium and in fact if you listen to Jerry Lewis and others in their caucus…
Wallace: We should point out that’s not the comedian, that’s the Congressman from California.
Van Hollen: That’s right. He’s their leading member, their senior member on the Appropriations Committee—this is eight months—what we did was permanent. All our changes we’ve made are permanent and the way they got their conference on board was to say wink, wink, eight months, we can change when we come back.
Wallace: Congressman Cantor?
Cantor: Chris, I mean, come on, listen to that. I mean there’s a reason why we’re in the minority now. I think we’ve tried to learn our lesson here. We took a significant step the other day in our conference and we said we will not be seeking any earmarks, a total ban on earmarks this year.