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A Permanent Ban on Pork Barrel Spending

“Pork” or “pork barrel spending” is what it’s often called. More formally it’s known as earmarks.
Congress actually banned earmarks back in 2011, but now some Democrats are trying to resurrect them. Moments ago I introduced a bill in the House that would stop this effort in its tracks and make permanent the federal ban on earmarks, because they’re a horrible way to appropriate your tax dollars.
For background information, earmarks direct a specific amount of money for a specific project, and are usually baked into federal spending appropriations bills. Without getting too deep in the weeds, here are a few of overly simple comparisons:
Not an Earmark: appropriating money for Interstate road maintenance. In this example, the money is allocated and then the various agencies prioritize the use of those funds according to all pending Interstate maintenance projects. Nothing wrong with that.
👎 Earmark: appropriating money to repave I-95 in Florida between mile markers 10 – 20. This allocates a specific amount of money for a specific project in a specific location, and totally undermines the prioritization of other (perhaps more urgent) needs under the umbrella of Interstate road maintenance.
Not an Earmark: appropriating money for rural healthcare initiatives. NOT AN EARMARK.
👎 appropriating money to build one new medical facility in a certain rural area. EARMARK.
See the difference? The biggest problem with pork barrel spending is that it incentivizes personal agendas for Members of Congress. Here are a few examples quoted from the Washington Post several years back:
➡ A U.S. senator from Alabama directed more than $100 million in federal earmarks to renovate downtown Tuscaloosa near his own commercial office building.
➡ A congressman from Georgia secured $6.3 million in taxpayer funds to replenish the beach about 900 feet from his island vacation cottage
➡ A representative from Michigan earmarked $486,000 to add a bike lane to a bridge within walking distance of her home.
Also don’t forget about the $200 million “Airport for Nobody” in Pennsylvania and the $230 million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska. This should NEVER happen!
To the extent that federal dollars should be used for any of these projects (which may be questionable) then those dollars should fund broader initiative, and then relevant agencies should decide where those dollars are spent based on merit and the priority of all projects.
I want to thank Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) for co-sponsoring this bill. I’m also thrilled to announce it has the support of FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union, and Citizens Against Government Waste.