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Cosponsor Earmark Moratorium and Balanced Budget Amendment:
An Open Letter to the United States Senate

February 24, 2010

Dear Senator:

  On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to cosponsor efforts to implement an immediate moratorium on Congressional earmarks through FY 2011. Introduced by Senator Jim DeMint, this moratorium would prohibit the consideration of any bill, joint resolution, conference report, or message between chambers that contains earmarks. Additionally, I ask you to support his Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment to safeguard against wanton deficit spending.

               In his State of the Union address, President Obama said, “I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform.” While many of us would dispute whether or not “continue” was an accurate choice of words, the need for reform has never been more apparent. It seems as though some lawmakers continue to view formatting as some sort of taxpayer-funded political piggy bank. The most recent example of pork-laden budget policy can be found in H.R. 3288, the appropriations omnibus package, which passed at the end of 2009. H.R. 3288 contained a total of 5,224 earmarks worth $3.8 billion. The earmark moratorium would make significant strides in protecting taxpayers from the handouts that have deservedly earned much public enmity in recent years.

  The Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution would make it more difficult for Congress to increase the burden on taxpayers by requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. Furthermore, the Amendment would keep lawmakers accountable as they face fiscal policies head-on. While the Amendment would need to be ratified by two-thirds of the states, it is important to note that 49 states have already passed balanced budget requirements into law. It is critical that Congress support this Balanced Budget Amendment if it is to uphold the Jeffersonian principle that one generation ought not bind another with its debts. 

            NTU strongly endorses the one-year earmark moratorium and Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment. Any roll call votes on these pieces of legislation will be heavily weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.




                                                                      Jordan Forbes

                                                                      Federal Government Affairs Manager