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Capitol Hill 'pork' reformer faces uphill battle

Rep. Jeff Flake, a crusader against 'pork' spending, is being punished by GOP leadership, watchdog groups say.

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After years of bashing congressional "pork" on the floor of the House – and losing on lopsided votes – Rep. Jeff Flake is seeing his signature issue become a party bandwagon. But he's not on it.

When the House Republican Steering Committee had to find someone to fill a vacancy on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, aka Pork Central, they chose a newcomer to reform, Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, over Representative Flake and several others.

"Of those candidates, Jo Bonner was chosen because he symbolizes the changing perspective in the House Republican ranks on the role of earmarks, and the emerging consensus among Republicans on the need to fundamentally change Washington's broken spending process," said House Republican leader John Boehner in a statement announcing the appointment last week.

"From this point forward, a member's willingness to change and support dramatic change in the spending process will be grounds for reward, not punishment," he added.

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