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NTU Supports Senator DeMint's Earmark Reform Plan
July 18, 2007
The Honorable James DeMint
Dear Senator DeMint:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to offer our endorsement for your Senate Resolutions 123 and 260, which would strengthen earmark protections in the budget process. NTU applauds your steadfast efforts to make these a part of law.
Resolution 123 would enact as a stand-alone rule strong disclosure measures to govern pork projects in Senate bills. The resolution would require that all bills provide a list of earmarks and their sponsors to the public 48 hours before a vote and prohibit earmark vote trading. These provisions are extremely important tools to help tackle the incredible number of wasteful earmarks in Congress.
The Senate recognized their importance in January when Senate Resolution 123 was passed unanimously as an amendment to S. 1, the ethics bill. Unfortunately, it seems as though some big-spenders are committed to using the American taxpayer as their personal earmark piggy bank. Since its passage, the ethics bill has stalled and these important earmark measures are being held hostage. NTU strongly supports enactment of Senate Resolution 123 now to expose the fiscal hypocrites for what they are.
Resolution 260 would prevent the so-called "airdropping" of earmarks into bills during Conference Committees between the House and Senate. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) already declared in May that he planned to withhold earmarks until conference, therefore bypassing the intent of reform efforts. By strengthening points of order against pork projects, this resolution would effectively eliminate the odious practice of sneaking in sops to special interests through the back door.
Your resolutions would greatly improve earmark disclosure and would protect taxpayers from the secretive handouts that have deservedly earned so much public enmity in recent years. You are to be commended for your commitment and dedication to rebuilding our broken budget process. We thank you and look forward to working with you in the future to make earmark reform a reality. Any roll call votes on either Senate Resolution 123 or 260 will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.