Earlier today, the House Republican Conference voted to reverse their self-imposed ban on earmarks, the shady practice of lawmakers directing money into pet projects in their state or congressional district. The overturning of this decade-old rule is a significant step backwards in the fight for fiscal responsibility and the efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Though the outcome was only decided by a handful of votes, NTU nonetheless thanks the 84 who stood with taxpayers by opposing this wasteful practice.
In response to the secret-ballot vote, NTU Federal Affairs Director Thomas Aiello issued the following statement:
“Earmarks are the epitome of wasteful spending in Washington. Since 1991 earmarks have cost taxpayers over $375 billion on pet projects - including the infamous ‘bridge to nowhere,’ a $500,000 teapot museum, and $50 million for an indoor rainforest in Iowa. It is extremely disappointing to know that because of today's vote, this sort of spending will be back, and will certainly lead to a more bloated, unaccountable government.
Worse yet, the Republican Party bills itself as the party of fiscal responsibility and a good shepherd of taxpayer dollars. Yet with a majority of Republicans voting to reinstitute earmarks, it appears those catchy words are nothing more than lip service. Lawmakers cannot claim to be fiscally responsible while also supporting the egregious practice of pork-barrel spending. Washington has a spending problem, and Republican lawmakers just voted to feed that shameful addiction to overspending.
Despite today’s loss, NTU will keep fighting against earmarks. We urge lawmakers to sponsor Reps. Norman and Budd’s “Earmark Elimination Act” and demand that legislation be brought to the floor for a vote so all lawmakers can be on record to where they stand on this important issue.”