Rep. Pete Sessions on push to bring back earmarks

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 10, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, HOST: So, with more worries about debt, critics say this is certainly no time to bring back earmarks.


NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: The president wants earmarks back. Do you?

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-NORTH CAROLINA: No, I'm not a big fan of earmarks.

I think that our constitutional responsibility should lie with the entire $1.1 trillion that we're about to appropriate, not just a few small dollars. It's normally a way to provide leverage and increase spending. I don't know that it's something that I could support.


PAYNE: So what does our next guest make of all this?

House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions joins me now.

Sir, thank you very much.

I was shocked, and I think a lot of viewers were, that Republicans are leading the way with this, that they're whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the president, hey, earmarks could help us.

We thought we were rid of those.

REP. PETE SESSIONS, R-TEXAS: Well, in fact, we will continue to be rid of those.

As you might remember, back in 2009, Mrs. Clinton put in some $500 million worth of earmarks by walking in to the appropriations packages, and putting stickies on them. That was why, later in 2010, Speaker Boehner put a moratorium on that process. And the Senate has done the same.

But the bottom line is, we have not fixed the process. And the process is going to take place next Wednesday and Thursday at the Rules Committee, where we will hear testimony.

The effort that we're after is to create a circumstance where, in an administration, as we know Barack Obama's administration, had between $5 billion and $15 billion a year to use the spending as they saw it should take place. And it was sole -- many of it was sole source and their own decision.

PAYNE: Right.

SESSIONS: So, we're going to come up with a moving-forward process that will be transparent and meritorious-based.

This is why we're going to take feedback from all sorts of members and outside groups, and we intend to move forward with a plan that will be fair and equitable, but will not reside on earmarks.

PAYNE: Right.

SESSIONS: It will be based upon votes in the House and the success of the needs of the nation.

PAYNE: Proponents, including Republicans, who have all of a sudden jumped back on the bandwagon, are saying that there are good things with this, that you can actually get things done, that the bureaucrats won't be in control, that this is why you don't have any sort of bipartisanship anymore, that this is glue that can knit it together, and that, by the way, they also say that the numbers aren't that much in the grand scheme of things, $5 billion here or $15 billion there.

SESSIONS: That's right. The numbers are small.

But the bottom line is, is that, today, we, as members of Congress, cannot give any feedback about any sort of measure, any sort of project that the state or that that district may have.

And it will allow us to make sure we have to put our name there, and I believe the process would be one that would say it will be decided here, where we appropriate money, not somewhere where we have to go fight and dig to find out and get information.

And that's what we had to do with Solyndra. As you will recall, that administration had between $5 billion and $15 billion a year, and they made their own decisions.

PAYNE: Right.

SESSIONS: Oh, by the way, they're the ones that went and gave money out on a partisan basis. I don't think that's good for anybody.

And the American people know this.

PAYNE: They do.

Representative Sessions, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

SESSIONS: You bet.


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