Five years ago, we put in place an earmark ban with the best of intentions. Today, it is clear that the earmark ban has resulted in less transparency and an abdication of our constitutional duty.
Among many other problems, the current earmark ban prevents Congress from:
1. deepening U.S. ports to handle the larger ships that can now run through the widened Panama Canal
2. fully protecting the U.S. against the North Korean ICBM threat.
I support reintroducing targeted spending in order to allow Members to authorize projects in a geographically specific location for federal, state, or local governments that:
· Have a clear federal nexus;
· Are authorized by law; and
· Do not increase spending beyond the 302(a) allocation.
Introducing targeted spending will restore Congress’s constitutional duty and allow us to more effectively use the power of the purse to rein in the Administration and unelected bureaucrats.
I have proposed language that:
· Restores the power of the purse without increasing spending;
· Requires total transparency from subcommittee to final enactment;
· Restricts targeted spending to federal, State or local government; and
· Restores Congress' most powerful check and balance on the Executive Branch.
If we adopt this proposed change, we will no longer be abdicating our Constitutional responsibilities to unelected bureaucrats in the back offices of federal agencies. It should be Congress, not agency bureaucrats who decide how to spend our constituents’ hard-earned tax dollars.
My proposed language would allow us to modify the current earmark ban so that Congress would be able to make transparent, line item appropriations.