(Washington, DC) -- At a Capitol Hill rally today involving hundreds of activists as well as citizen groups and Members of Congress, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) stood side-by-side with those calling for a "discharge petition" that would force consideration of a bill to provide solid disclosure of special-interest "earmarks" on spending legislation. In conjunction with this event, Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications for NTU, provided the following remarks:
"If big-spending House Members won't discharge their duty to provide open and accountable government to taxpayers, then it's up to conscientious lawmakers to discharge legislation onto the House floor that will do the job.
Bringing earmark reform to light requires a wide-open door, not a cracked-open one that allows wasteful spending to hide behind and escape notice. That means earmarks must be disclosed on all forms of legislation, and they must be open to debate and challenge from the very beginning of the legislative process.
Taxpayers who thought the majority party understood what the word 'reform' means have been sorely disappointed, as the meaning of an earmark has been twisted, the vehicles for earmarks have been expanded, and the point of disclosure has been stretched to the final few minutes of the legislative process.
Instead of serious reform, the House gave us sugar beet subsidies. Instead of bipartisan action for the national interest, Senators funded the 2008 national Presidential conventions. Instead of good government, guided tours for the U.S. Capitol got extra money from the Senate. These are three of thousands of reasons why America needs 22 courageous House Members to sign the earmark reform discharge petition."
NTU is a non-profit citizen group working for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels. Note: Numerous commentaries and studies on earmark reform, along with details on federal transparency, are available online at www.ntu.org.