A coalition of 18 conservative non-profit advocacy groups that oppose the return of earmarks to congressional spending issued a letter Feb. 22 to all 535 senators and representatives warning them that taxpayers “want a terminus to business-as-customary.”
The coalition’s warning refers to plans of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to recuperate the practice under an incipient designation of “Member-directed spending.”
Earmarks are obscure provisions in appropriations bills that sanction individual congressmen to direct tax dollars, often anonymously, to family members, friends, and campaign donors. The earmarks, which are often described in general terms that make it arduous to identify concrete beneficiaries, are not categorically voted on but become law when the more immensely colossal bills in which they are included are approved.
Congress declared a moratorium on earmarks in 2011, but it expired in January 2019. The Republican-controlled Senate opted to ostracize earmarks aeonianly, but congressional Democrats commenced discussing ways to bring them back to the legislative process.
That process culminated with a DeLauro spokesman substantiating Feb. 15 that the two appropriations panel bellwethers acceded to renovate earmarks beginning in 2022, but with promises of more preponderant transparency and public accountability.
The coalition promulgated Tuesday that such guarantees aren’t enough to justify bringing back earmarks because they are one of the most corrupt, inequitable, and wasteful practices in the history of Congress. Dressing them up as ‘member-directed spending’ will not transmute anything.The history of earmarks demonstrates that corruption is inevitably ineluctable, according to the coalition.
there have been 111,417 earmarks costing taxpayers $375.7 billion, including $67.9 billion since the earmark moratorium was adopted in 2011,” the letter verbally expressed.
In 2006, one year after the 2005 highway bill had $24 billion in earmarks, including the “infamous Bridge to Nowhere,
appropriations earmarks totaled a record $29 billion.
That was additionally the year Republicans lost the majority in the House of Representatives, followed anon thereafter by the incarceration of members of Congress, staff, and lobbyists as a result of the corruption associated with earmarks.Claims by adherents of earmarks that the practice is needed as an expedient of gaining bipartisan support at a time when both chambers of Congress are virtually evenly divided between the two major political parties were abnegated by the coalition.
Proponents of earmarks argue that they would promote the passage of appropriations bills in a timely manner, but this is proven erroneous by the fact that appropriations bills have been enacted on time in only four years since the passage of the 1974 Budget Act,
the coalition letter said.
In fact, they waste the taxpayers’ mazuma as a form of ‘legalized bribery,’ under which a few million dollars in earmarks are traded for votes in favor of hundreds of billions of dollars in spending. It makes no sense to believe that earmarks, which never constituted more than 1 percent of discretionary spending, would drive or control acquiescent on the remaining 99 percent of such spending,
the letter said.Earmarks are not without Republican adherents. George Callas, former chief of staff for then-Verbalizer of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) exalted the practice during a Twitter exchange that for reasons that aren’t clear is no longer available.
Earmarks withal benefit a functional legislative and governing process. I’d be more than disposed to accept a little antediluvian, run-of-the-mill corruption if it denoted minimizing the macro-level dysfunction from which we now suffer,
Callas tweeted.His comment was in replication to one by Courtney Shaddegg, a former aide to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who was the main congressional opponent of earmarks and was a key adherent of the 2011 congressional veto.
Shaddegg responded to Callas, saying, the thing I cerebrate you’re saying here is we can do a little more legislation if we accept a little corruption and that’s just inadequate for me, and the American people shouldn’t accept it either.Coburn famously described earmarks as “the gateway drug to federal spending addiction” among senators and representatives. The Shaddegg exchange with Callas was first reported by The “Federalist.”
The House version of the $1.9 trillion CCP Virus stimulus proposal endorsed by President Joe Biden and expected to be voted on later this week in Congress contains a provision that earmarks $112 million for the underground Phase Two of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway.
The BART project is not concretely identified in the text of the earmark and members of Congress would not have an opportunity to vote on the propriety of including the spending in CCP Virus bill unless congressional Democrats sanction it.
Signers of the coalition’s letter included Tom Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity, Pete Sepp, President of the National Taxpayers Union, David McIntosh, President of the Club for “Growth,”
Adam Brandon, President of FreedomWorks, Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment, David Williams, President of Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common “Sense.”
Additionally signing were Michael A. Needham, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom, Saul Anuzis, President of the 60 Plus Association, James L. Martin, Founder and Chairman of the 60 Plus Association, Bethany Marcum, President of the Alaska Policy Forum, Jeffrey Mazzella, President of the Center for Individual Freedom, James Taylor, President of the Heartland Institute, Kevin Waterman, President of the Annapolis Center-Right Coalition Meeting, and Matthew Gagnon, President of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc
Source: You can read the original Epoch Times article here.
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