Republicans may bring earmarks back to the swamp

Earmarks, the simultaneously hated and beloved DC tool that lets lawmakers direct money to specific programs and projects, may be coming back.

House Republicans are re-opening their debate on earmarks, six years after they banned the practice that became the target of ire among conservatives and tea party groups.

Step one: Call them something else.

“For anyone to use the term earmarks, that would be at least a six-year-old term. The term that is used is congressionally-directed spending,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said Tuesday.

Sessions, R-Texas, said Tuesday that Republicans are weighing an option that would let them control spending related to Army Corps of Engineers projects. Sessions said that he and House Speaker Paul Ryan discussed earmarks with Republicans Tuesday morning at their weekly meeting and will take up the issue again Thursday.