CAGW Names Senators Who Voted to Kill DeMint-McCain Earmark Moratorium Porkers of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names Senators Who Voted to Kill DeMint-McCain Earmark Moratorium Porkers of the Month



For Immediate Release Contacts: Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334
March 14, 2008 Alexa Moutevelis 202-467-5318

 


Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named all 71 senators who voted against an amendment to impose a one-year earmark moratorium in the fiscal year 2009 Budget Resolution March Porkers of the Month.  The amendment was offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and had fourteen bipartisan co-sponsors including all three presidential candidates.


As Sen. DeMint has said, “The earmark process allows politicians to fund pet projects based on political power instead of merit. Earmarks are rarely subject to public hearings or oversight, and they invite the kind of corruption that has sent lawmakers to jail.”


In addition to inviting fraudulent behavior, earmarking diverts lawmakers’ attention from important national business, like saving Medicare and Social Security for future generations.  Many congressional offices have one or more staffers dedicated to procuring earmarks.


A year-long moratorium is a critical step forward to stopping Congress’s addiction to earmarking.  It would give members time to reform the process, devote more effort to critical issues, and help keep money in taxpayers’ wallets instead of being diverted to Washington where it can be converted into pork.  In fiscal 2008, pork-barrel spending ballooned to 11,612 projects costing $17.2 billion.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opposed the ban as “unrealistic” and even went so far as to erroneously claim that earmarking “has been going in this country for 230-some-odd years,” and that “The Founding Fathers would be cringing to hear people talking about eliminating earmarks.”


To the contrary, the Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves right now to hear their legacy so completely distorted.  In 1796, Thomas Jefferson predicted the slippery slope of the federal government funding local road projects when he said, “it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.”  In 1822, President James Monroe argued that federal money should be limited “to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.”


Today, Appropriations Committee members arbitrarily pick winners and losers by earmarking funds for specific recipients.  Rank and file members, backed by an army of lobbyists, bypass authorizing committees and lobby appropriators directly for pet projects.  This unrivaled power over pork explains why Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), an appropriator, self-interestedly said about the amendment: “It's just such a crock. This is such political hype.”


For protecting their personal pork projects at the expense of the national interest, CAGW names the 71 senators who voted against a year-long earmark moratorium its March 2008 Porkers of the Month.


Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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