Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz urged all members of Congress to join forces with Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to preserve the moratorium on congressional earmarking. The bipartisan duo are circulating a letter asking all senators and representatives to pledge to maintain the moratorium. The letter comes at a propitious moment, since Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) will be unveiling the 22nd edition of its Congressional Pig Book on Wednesday, May 7, at 11:00 am. The publication will expose a number of congressional earmarks which were inserted in H.R. 3547, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, in spite of the congressional moratorium, which began in fiscal year (FY) 2011. Although the ban has helped tamp down earmarks, which reached a record $29 billion in FY 2006, according to CAGW’s longstanding criteria the practice of earmarking persists, while the transparency associated with the spending projects has regressed. The2014 Congressional Pig Book and the joint letter come amid increasing pressure by members in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to revive earmarking. The text of the Coburn-Udall letter reads, in part:
“We recognize there are a wide range of views on this subject in our caucuses but we believe it is important to reaffirm our support for this policy. Congress has ample flexibility to exercise its power of the purse and represent the interests of our constituents without using earmarks. For instance, the appropriations process under regular order and our oversight authority gives members ample opportunity to set priorities and vet decisions with their elected peers. We therefore urge you to pledge your continued support for the earmark moratorium and do everything in your power to work together to address the nation’s highest priorities without the unhelpful distraction of earmarks.”
CCAGW Tom Schatz President said, “It is all the rage these days to claim that the only way to mitigate congressional gridlock, acrimony, and paralysis is to free members to waste the taxpayers’ money on unnecessary parochial projects, but in a more collegial, collaborative way. That is a pretty sad commentary on the state of political leadership in Washington. We have seen what self-serving pork-barrel spending can do to grease the skids for gigantic, wasteful, ill-conceived legislative initiatives in the past. If doling out special-interest pork at a time when there is a $17.5 trillion national debt hanging over our collective heads is the only way to get Congress back to work on behalf of taxpayers, members have sunk even lower than their approval numbers, and that would be quite an achievement. We will be sending a letter to Capitol Hill urging all senators and representatives to sign this pledge to keep pork-barrel spending and the corruption it brings at bay.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.