LONG & GOODMAN TALK TERM LIMITS ABOVE AND EARMARKS BELOWRepublican candidate for U.S. Congress Billy Long pledged to "work hard to do away with earmarks" Saturday at meeting of the Ozarks Breakfast Club, but stopped short of promising never to accept one.
State Senator Jack Goodman, another candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat, said he doesn't like earmarks, but advocated reform of the process rather than outright elimination of the provisions used to deliver special projects to specific communities.
The debate over earmarks could become a bright dividing line in the Republican Party's primary races for the 7th Congressional District and U.S. Senate. Long and Goodman's careful comments before a small group of conservatives underscores how GOP candidates must weigh the benefits of earmarks against a populist public outcry against wasteful Washington spending.
"I'm opposed to earmarks. I'm not saying that I would absolutely not ever do an earmark," Long said in response to a question on earmarks at the Golden Corral. "I will work hard to do away with earmarks."
"You need the light of day in legislation and earmarks is where they go into the dark. We don't need that. It's not served us well," Long added.
Repeating a line that Sen. Kit Bond has used in defense of earmarks, Goodman said he's not comfortable with giving control over spending projects to "unaccountable members of the bureaucracy."
Goodman said he favors more transparency and accountability in the process and wants more time so every member of Congress can review requests for earmarks. "I don't think we should engage in bringing unneeded pork back to the district just to buy continued loyalty," Goodman said.
But Goodman also explained how earmarks can be a benefit to individual Congressional districts. "There are times when there is a legitimate need within the district for the government to play a role in the system," Goodman said.
On the issue of term limits at the federal level, Long said he was unequivocally opposed to any limit. Goodman said would respect the public's decision on the issue and cited arguments for and against term limits.