(Washington, DC) -- As citizen groups and fiscally conscientious lawmakers gathered on Capitol Hill today to unveil a 10-part pledge for Members of Congress to actively oppose the practice of "earmarking" special-interest items in spending bills, the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union (NTU) called on all Representatives and Senators to sign the document. Pete Sepp, NTU's Vice President for Policy and Communications, provided the following statement in connection with the event:
"The Earmark Reform Pledge is one of the best ways to recognize lawmakers willing to keep their word to taxpayers ... and to sift out the others who are about nothing but words. It is a respectful pledge of allegiance to fiscal responsibility.
Signing a pledge is a no-excuses, no-nonsense expression of how much an individual Member of Congress is committed to practicing earmark reform day in and day out. There are no floor-vote rules, no pressures in Committee, just a pure statement of will.
So why aren't those who often complained the loudest about earmarking on the 2006 campaign trail lining up to sign the pledge? Good question, and it's one that will be answered in the next 12 months, before the 2008 election. Those lawmakers who truly care about this issue, on both sides of the aisle, on all kinds of Committees, and in all sorts of leadership roles should step up, pen in hand.
The naysayers will complain that this pledge is 'simplistic,' and can't account for future circumstances. In reality, the 10 provisions of this plan are carefully considered, and taxpayers can only hope that years from now the pledge will be common budgeting practice. Until then, Americans deserve the protections of the Earmark Reform Pledge, signed, sealed, and delivered from 535 Members of Congress."
The 362,000-member NTU is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels. Note: Numerous commentaries, studies, and letters to Congress on earmark reform, along with details on federal budget transparency, are available online at www.ntu.org.