The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Moran-ic Statements

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


     Rep. James “Jim” Moran (D-Va.), a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has threatened to play politics with the defense bill following President Bush’s promise to veto any bill that does not cut the cost and number of earmarks in half.  “Defense is the only bill where we’re going to give him anything he wants. And because that’s the one he wants, it’ll be full of earmarks and he’s not going to issue a peep about that,” Moran said, according to CQ Today on January 29, 2008, the day after President Bush issued the veto threat during the State of the Union address.

     Rep. Moran thinks he’s sticking it to the President, but he would only be hurting our men and women in uniform.  A January 2008 Government Accountability Office report, released three days after Moran spoke, highlighted agency officials’ views on earmarks and the impact of congressional earmarking on spending priorities.  The report found that “congressional directives can sometimes place restrictions on the ability to retire some programs and to invest in others.  Restrictions have an effect on the budget because they require the components to support an activity that was not in the budget.”

     On January 29, Roll Call reported Rep. Moran saying, “We should be earmarking more, for roads and bridges and even soup kitchens.  People are hurting.”  The real problem is that members of Congress have been engaged in a frenzy of earmarking projects like “Bridges to Nowhere” and “Roads to Nowhere” without regard to merit or whether the funding ever achieves any measurable outcomes.  Rep. Moran himself is responsible for 67 earmarks in the fiscal 2008 budget, worth $97 million. 

     A September 7, 2007 report by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General highlighted five ways earmarks affect the agency’s programs: Earmarks often reduce funding for the states’ core transportation programs; earmarks do not always coincide with DOT strategic research goals; many low priority, earmarked projects are being funded over higher priority, non-earmarked projects; earmarks provide funds for projects that would otherwise be ineligible; and earmarks can disrupt the agency’s ability to fund programs as designated when authorized funding amounts are exceeded by “overearmarking.”

     As much as members of Congress like to think their pork spending is only a drop in the bucket, study after study has shown that earmarking has real consequences and is detrimental to both agency priorities and taxpayers.

-- Alexa Moutevelis

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