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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

 9:50 AM 

Ribble signs onto letter seeking to ease earmark restrictions

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble of Sherwood is among 65 House GOP freshmen asking their caucus' leadership to support a tariff bill despite current restrictions on earmarks in the Republican-controlled House.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., authored the letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor Friday in support of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, saying in a statement that it would protect more than 600 exemptions on duties set to expire at the end of the year.

“The MTB has been an important tool for making American manufacturing more competitive for 30 years by suspending import taxes on necessary manufacturing inputs not available in this country," Reed wrote in the letter.

But a report in Politico says the bill would violate the chamber's earmark ban, and that spending critics in the GOP caucus are likely to oppose such an exception for tariffs. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., however, is among the Republicans who argue that tariffs never should have been included in the earmark ban.

Ribble spokeswoman Ashley Olson said the Sherwood Republican supports the House earmark rule and would work to ensure that any tariff suspensions do not violate the ban.

"Many of the raw products that manufacturers need for production are not available domestically, so suspending tariffs would reduce many costs across the board," Olson said. "The tariff suspensions included in the broader MTB are available to every U.S. manufacturer, plus the small businesses, distributors and consumers that help move or sell the particular end-product."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee alleged that Ribble had broken his promise by pushing "for these taxpayer-funded earmarks."

Ribble's fellow Wisconsin freshman Republican, Sean Duffy of Weston, did not sign onto Reed's letter.


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