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John Boehner Twice Refuses To Say Whether He'd Ban Earmarks As House Speaker

First Posted: 09/26/10 11:31 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:50 PM ET

John Boehner

The 21-page blueprint for governance that House Republicans introduced this week has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans alike for lacking specific legislative remedies to issues like entitlement programs and the debt.

But one place where "The Pledge" punts completely is earmarks. There is no mention of the pork-barrel projects, despite a complete ban on earmarks being a GOP mantra.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) illustrated just how thorny the issue is for the party when he refused on two occasions to say whether he would put an end to earmark spending if he became Speaker of the House after the midterm elections.

"Today, we have a moratorium on earmarks. I can tell you that if Republicans win the majority in November, it will not be business as usual here in Congress," Boehner said.

Host Chris Wallace, clearly unconvinced by the response, asked again.

"It will not be business as usual here in Washington, D.C.," said Boehner. "It will not be. It will not be business as usual."

Later in the program, The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol insisted that Boehner's hands on the earmark debate were largely tied, arguing that the Tea Party caucus wouldn't allow for anything but a full-out ban. But the Ohio Republican's unwillingness to make the commitment on air -- and GOP leadership's inability to put it in "The Pledge" -- suggests that inside the caucus the earmark argument is hardly settled.

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