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Will 2010 Be an Earmark Free Zone?
Posted By Dani Doane On March 8, 2010 @ 6:00 pm In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
According to Roll Call, during a Democrat strategy session last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) broached the idea of suspending earmarks during the 2010 appropriations process. And even though the reasons cited were mostly political – this fiscal restraint would come as welcome relief to the average everyday American.
Earmarks have long been considered an emblem of Washington, DC corruption, waste and abuse. Earmark supporters will make such arguments as “the total amount of spending on earmarks is minimal,” or “why should we let bureaucrats spend federal dollars, when we know where the money should go.” But these desperate arguments miss the point. Earmarks are not only a classic sign of favoritism but they grease the wheels for ever higher levels of government spending .
Additionally, there are so many earmarks now (in 2009  there were estimated to be 11,914 for a total of over $20 billion) that abuse is bound to happen. Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
In 2007 a similar effort was undertaken by a Republican majority. In that case the Republican majority refused to fund over 10,000 earmarks that were left over in FY 2007 appropriations bills from the previous year. This ended up being a one shot deal though as the FY 2008 earmark process continued with earmarks unabated. But this is a good idea whose time may have come again. This moratorium should also have backing from the Administration as President Obama has also been an advocate for reducing earmarks. Specifically, the President proposed  that:
To a disgruntled, disillusioned, dispirited American populace a truly effective earmark moratorium would come as welcome relief. But it has to be legitimate and not just window dressing and more of the same. Some ideas to give it teeth include:
Earmark reform efforts have always been a tough sell in Congress. Members from both sides of the aisle like to be able to bring home dollars for the State or District. But the fundamental unfairness of earmarks has long stuck in the craw of the American people. Media reports indicate that Speaker Pelosi is considering a one year moratorium on earmarking. This would be a great first step and may be the beginning of bipartisan agreement on an issue that may restrain federal spending.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/08/will-2010-be-an-earmark-free-zone/
URLs in this post:
 they grease the wheels for ever higher levels of government spending: http://www.foundry.org/2009/03/10/earmarks-encourage-spending-and-thats-no-lie/
 2009: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm2318.cfm
 proposed: http://www.heritage.org/Research/budget/wm2793.cfm
 notes: http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed042006b.cfm
 already called: http://www.rollcall.com/news/43929-1.html
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