Washington (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and rank-and-file House Democrats met for the first time Tuesday since suffering huge losses two weeks ago.
According to members in the closed-door meeting, several defeated Democrats blamed Pelosi for their losses and suggested she step aside as leader.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/10/art.caphill0310.gi.jpg caption=" House Democrats said Wednesday they will ban earmarks directed to for-profit companies."]
Washington (CNN) - House Democrats said Wednesday they will ban earmarks
directed to for-profit companies.
The move, announced by the Appropriations Committee and its Defense subcommittee, would apply to government spending bills Congress is considering for next year. But the committee said in a written statement the new rules are also "intended to become a long term proposition."
Out the door will be earmarks directed to private firms, many of them military contractors who frequently obtain multi-million dollar, no-bid contracts through the process. Instead, those companies will be allowed to
apply directly for funding to the Defense Department, which will decide what projects it wants to fund.
Defense earmarks include research proposals, systems upgrades and equipment production.
The Appropriations Committee said the earmark restrictions would have prohibited 1,000 earmarks this year, amounting to $1.7 billion.
In addition to the ban on earmarks aimed at for-profit businesses, the Appropriations Committee said it plans greater oversight of earmarks going to non-profits, directing executive agencies to audit 5 percent of all of those earmarks to make sure they are, in fact, being used as intended.
"Earmarks" refer to federal funding designated for particular projects, with taxpayer money allocated by members of Congress to home-state and home-district projects, often with an eye toward re-election.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite direct lobbying by members of President Obama's administration in the last couple of weeks, many moderate House Republicans are still firmly opposed to the measure.
Before the House vote last month, 11 House Republicans attended a meeting at the White House with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to discuss their possible support. None of those members voted for the bill then, and CNN has learned that most do not intend to support the latest version either.
Pennsylvania Republican Jim Gerlach said he got calls from two Cabinet secretaries on Thursday –- HUD Secretary Sean Donovan and Transportation Secretary Secretary Ray LaHood – – but said the bill didn’t include the “fundamental change I think is needed.”