(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) distributed a letter to all Senate Republicans urging them to co-sponsor and vote for Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) earmark moratorium. The letter reads, in part:
“Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has documented 109,978 earmarks worth $306 billion since 1991. CAGW’s Congressional Pig Book revealed 9,129 earmarks worth $16.5 billion in 2010 alone. Members of Congress have all-too-often characterized earmarks as “small potatoes,” but when 1.4 million taxpayer dollars are being irresponsibly spent on a “competitive potato breeding research program” without any competition, transparency, accountability, or justification, earmarks become symbolic of government waste and the epitome of the broken budgetary process.
Taxpayers often hear from their elected officials that earmarks are good and bring back federal dollars to their districts. Historically, approximately 60 percent of earmarks has gone to the majority party, while 40 percent has gone to the minority party. Awarding taxpayer funds on the basis of political power instead of merit is a deceptive practice that encourages backroom deal-making, vote swapping, and other political game-playing.
In addition to inviting fraudulent behavior, earmarking diverts lawmakers’ attention from important national business, like controlling the nation’s ballooning $13.7 trillion debt. Many congressional offices have one or more staffers dedicated solely to procuring earmarks.
An earmark moratorium is a critical step toward stopping Congress’s addiction to pork-barreling. The earmark ban will give members of Congress time to reform the process, devote more effort to critical issues, and save taxpayers billions of dollars that would otherwise be squandered on frivolous projects.
The elections on November 2 showed that Americans are sick and tired of Washington’s profligate behavior. There is no better time to demonstrate to taxpayers that Republicans are serious about cutting spending and returning Congress to fiscal sanity. I strongly urge all Senators to co-sponsor and support Senator DeMint’s earmark moratorium.”