Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley blasted House Republicans for secretly voting to support earmark provisions, the Washington Examiner reported.
Haley, widely considered a potential contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, called Wednesday's closed-door GOP vote on earmark provisions "totally unacceptable."
"It is totally unacceptable that the House GOP voted in secret to keep earmarks. Every single member owes their constituents an explanation," Haley said in a statement to the Examiner.
"This is why people don't trust government."
House Republicans voted 158-52 against an amendment proposed by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., that would have ended the rule allowing members to add earmark provisions to legislation.
"The new Republican majority needs to make a dramatic, concrete, and credible statement that business as usual in Washington is over. Is there a more powerful statement it can make than to swear off the wasteful and corrupting practice of congressional earmarking?" McClintock asked before the conference vote.
With the GOP vote being held behind closed doors, there's no public record of how members voted.
Earmarks allow lawmakers to set aside funding in spending bills for specific pet projects — something members often use to tout their ability to bring home funding to constituents.
Some Republican members, though, have criticized the measure and advocated doing away with it to decrease federal spending.
The 2022 fiscal omnibus spending bill included 4,975 earmarks totaling $9.7 billion, the Examiner reported.
Haley, former governor of South Carolina, previously had expressed her opposition to earmarks, and made one final plea ahead of the GOP conference's vote.
"Americans deserve better than politicians in Washington wasting billions of their hard-earned dollars on pork projects and special-interest giveaways," she tweeted Wednesday.
As governor, Haley in 2011 signed a bill requiring that South Carolina's House and Senate hold more roll call votes.
"This is about accountability in South Carolina. And this is about the people having the right to know what their elected officials are doing all the time because elected officials work for the people and not the other way around," she said at the time, the Examiner reported.
She recently discussed her work on that state bill.
"Anything important enough to be debated on the floor of the House or the Senate is important enough to have votes on the record," Haley said, the Examiner reported.
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