US House Should Hang Tough on Earmark Ban

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John Pritchett Cartoons

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) issued a statement calling for all members of Congress to stand firm on the earmark moratorium currently in place.

CCAGW’s reaction came in response to a March 15, 2011 Roll Call article which described House members of both parties as “starting to push for a re-examination of the Republican-imposed earmark ban,” and “concerned that the ban will be enforced too broadly.”  CCAGW has been fighting for an earmark ban since 1989 and strongly supports the current moratorium.


“If anything, members of Congress should be concerned that this moratorium will be enforced too narrowly,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz.  “We are much more worried that the practice of funneling pork to specific districts will continue in various forms despite the earmark ban than we are that its enforcement will be too widespread.  We suspect that there are very few taxpayers losing sleep over the prospect that Congress will find it too difficult to spend other people’s money.

The article quoted Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), who described earmarks as a way to “level the playing field” for districts like hers with communities that “don’t have the ability to do competitive grants.”  Contrary to Rep. Emerson’s assertion, a 2009 Harvard study found that earmarking actually costs districts private-sector jobs and damages their economies.  In truth, earmarking actually is a jobs boon to one particular industry: the lobbyists in Washington who get paid millions to chase these special interest pork projects on behalf of their clients.  According to Citizens Against Government Waste’s Pig Book, Rep. Emerson was responsible for 38 earmarks worth a total of $30.1 million in 2010.  She ranked 167th out of 178 House Republicans in CCAGW’s 2009 Congressional Ratings.

“What we have seen since the earmark ban is exactly what we expected, which is that those legislators who are fondest of taxing all of America to fund pet projects back home are the most vocal opponents to the moratorium,” added Schatz.  “When an addict tries to justify his habit by outlining its benefits to society, you dismiss him out of hand.  Defenders of earmarks should be treated similarly.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) 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.