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Support an Earmark Moratorium!
An Open Letter to House Republicans
March 10, 2010
By Andrew Moylan
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in strong support of an immediate moratorium on earmarks in the House Republican Conference. For years, NTU has joined with allies both on and off Capitol Hill to advance positive reforms of the earmark process. We have done so in the firm belief that earmarks are not just bad policy, but also bad politics. They aid the passage of legislation that expands government while also serving to further undermine the public's rapidly deteriorating trust in Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The time has come to suspend the practice entirely.
In our view, a permanent ban would be desirable, but House Republicans have a chance to make history by unilaterally removing themselves from the sordid bidding game and encouraging responsible reform moving forward. You should seize that opportunity by lending your support to an immediate earmark moratorium.
While much has been made of efforts in recent years to reduce the number of earmarks and increase their transparency, the sad fact is that they remain a prominent feature of the legislative process. For example, the omnibus appropriations package that Congress passed late last year was stuffed with more than 5,000 special interest projects worth some $3.8 billion.
Whatever your view of the proper role of Congress in targeted spending decisions, it is undeniable that earmarking contributes to the unsustainable growth of government. Just last summer, earmarks aided in "purchasing" much-needed votes for the $2 trillion Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation that narrowly passed the House of Representatives. Without the ability to promise projects to vulnerable Members, House Leadership would likely have been unable to secure enough votes for that monstrous national energy tax.
If the townhall meetings and Tea Party demonstrations in which NTU members have been so active teach us anything, it is that conservatives, moderates, and even some liberals are disgusted with the direction of our federal government. They are sick and tired of the big-spending, back-scratching culture of Washington, D.C. You can strike a major blow to that culture and kick off a much-needed discussion about the future of targeted spending and fiscal discipline. I urge you to heed the call of our members and hard-working Americans across the country by supporting an immediate earmark moratorium.