Alaska Rep. Don Young caused "nervous tittering" among his Republican colleagues at a press conference in Washington today when he lamented the lack of earmarks in a transportation/energy/jobs bill, reports The New York Times.
"It's difficult for me not to have earmarks," said Mr. Young, to some nervous tittering at a news conference Tuesday outside the Capitol. A large group of House Republicans had gathered to promote their American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, a bill that links revenues for proposed new energy projects to new transportation and infrastructure projects.
The bill, which Mr. Young conceded was kind of O.K., "will not be as helpful as it could be" without earmarks. But, he said, it will help address the dismal state of many of American highways and bridges.
Representative John L. Mica of Florida, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, gamely moved on after Mr. Young's comment, and introduced many other members, many of them freshmen, who praised the bill for its lack of earmarks, among other things.
Young isn't alone in his fondness for earmarks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, vowed to fight earmark restrictions.