National Taxpayers Union (NTU) strongly supports the earmark moratorium extension amendment, sponsored by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to the Senate Republican Conference Rules. In place since 2011, the current earmark ban has succeeded in reducing the ability of lawmakers to steer taxpayer dollars toward wasteful pet projects.
Admittedly a small percentage of overall federal spending, earmarks nonetheless funded a significant number of unnecessary projects and, for some lawmakers, proved to be an irresistible opportunity for influence peddling.
“Taxpayers have a long memory,” explained Nan Swift, Federal Affairs Manager, NTU. “Earmark boondoggles like the infamous ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and former Representative John Murtha’s (D-PA) ‘earmark factory,’ are still fresh in the minds of those who had to foot the bill for these dubious schemes.”
“This was certainly true when voters went to the polls last November. Any effort to roll back these hard earned limits on earmarks will be perceived as a tone-deaf rejection of voters’ calls to ‘drain the swamp.’ The federal ledger is still teeming with wasteful spending and in urgent need of better accountability and transparency. Indeed, past earmarks with little merit still live on in the small print of authorization and appropriation bills. Senate Republicans would be wise to support Senator Jeff Flake’s earmark ban extension and avoid a return to the pork barrel politicking of the past.”