Rep. Barbara Lee also said Saturday that she
will support any resolution to impeach Trump.
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
At a town hall event that Rep. Barbara Lee‘s office termed a teach-in for the “GOP tax scam bill” Saturday morning in Oakland, the progressive giant dropped a surprise on her constituents. Like President Trump, who Lee has devoutly opposed throughout the past year, she also supports bringing back federal earmarks, commonly known as “pork.”
“I support federally-directed spending as of earmarks,” said Lee. “Some don’t, but transparency and being able to direct funding into my district for homeless and affordable housing strategies is one way we have got to be able to do. So, while it is very controversial, maybe one of these days we can direct federal funding to specific non-profits to do affordable housing.”
The comments were made after a series of questions during the two-hour town hall at Laney College related to affordable housing and homelessness within her 13th congressional district.
Lee, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, acknowledged the position, which was also floated this week by Trump, might be jarring for some of her constituents to hear.
“You may be hearing about this, but before you react to the notion of earmarks, just know that would help us tremendously with schools and housing, clinics, and health care, and all the issues that we care about in the district,” said Lee.
Earmarks were banned in 2011 after years of abuse by some members of Congress who used the federal money, often tucked into unrelated legislation, to pay for projects in their districts. The practice also gave some lawmakers the ability to sweeten the pot with local supporters and campaign donors.
Lee, however, was never one of the most spendthrift members of Congress when it came to supporting earmarks in general, according to OpenSecrets.org.
She sponsored or co-sponsored 28 bills totaling just $10 million in funding, ranking her 324th out of 435 members. Lee’s largest earmark came in 2009 when Lee set aside $1.6 million within a defense budget bill to improve the electronic record-keeping system at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital.
Meanwhile, the nexus of agreement between Lee and Trump at Saturday’s town hall started and stopped with earmarks.
Earlier, after a constituent pressed Lee to support a specific House resolution calling for Trump’s impeachments, she responded, “I’ll vote for any impeachment vote that comes to the floor.” The comment received loud applause, but the speaker continued to press on. Exasperated, Lee shot back, “I support all of the impeachment resolutions. There are four, five, six of them.”