Taxpayers Protection Alliance and National Taxpayers Union Weigh in on House Passage of Spending Bill with Concern about Earmarks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 339- 85 on a $467.5 billion spending package that includes funding for agriculture, energy, housing, and veterans affairs. This package funds roughly 30 percent of the government through September 30, 2024, the end of fiscal year 2024 (FY24). The bill, H.R. 2024, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, now heads to the Senate for consideration. There are an estimated 6,000 earmarks in the Bill. As the Bill makes its way through Congress on the way to President Biden’s desk, two national taxpayer watchdogs, The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), and National Taxpayers Union (NTU) caution Congress on the continued use and cost of earmarks.

TPA President, David Williams, and NTU President, Pete Sepp, offered the following comment:

“One of Congress’ most basic responsibilities is to fund the government, on time and every year. While we are encouraged that several federal agencies are now funded through the end of the fiscal year (rather than operating month-to-month), the next deadline is rapidly approaching. On March 22, 2024, funding for defense, homeland security and the state department will expire, teeing up yet another spending battle.

“It is shameful that Congress stuffed 6,000 earmarks totaling $12.7 billion into the Bill. Not surprisingly, the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) portion of the bill contains the most egregious examples of pork-barrel spending. Earmarks in THUD include $11 million to realign a state- owned road in Alabama, $10 million to build a business park in Kentucky, $6.4 million to connect park trails in Tennessee, $5 million and $4.8 million for zero-emission bus facilities in Oregon and Kansas, respectively, and $1 million to replace energy usage in San Francisco Section 8 housing with green energy. Simply put, these pet projects have no business in this legislation.

“Earmarks were banned in 2011 because they are a breeding ground for corruption, and they distract Congress from fulfilling its Constitutionally mandated responsibilities. Former Senator Tom Coburn (R- Okla.) called earmarks a gateway drug to Washington’s spending addiction. TPA criticized the reinstatement of earmarks when Democrats brought them back in 2021, and we again weighed in when Republicans authorized their use in 2023. We strongly encourage Congress to return its focus to its basic responsibilities, pass funding bills on time, strip all earmarks out of FY25 funding negotiations, and resume the moratorium on them in the 119th Congress.”