Arlington, VA — A coalition of leading taxpayer and consumer advocacy organizations today called on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support H.R. 8051, the Earmark Elimination Act, introduced by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). The bill aims to eliminate the practice of earmarking in Congress permanently.

Earmarks have long been a contentious issue in Congress, often seen as one of the most corrupt and wasteful practices in the institution’s history. The Earmark Elimination Act seeks to put an end to this practice and demonstrate a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Read the full coalition letter here.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wasteful and Corrupt Practice: Earmarks have been identified as a wasteful practice in Congress, with $437.5 billion spent on 124,212 earmarks since 1991, according to the Congressional Pig Book by Citizens Against Government Waste.
  • Skewed Distribution: In FY 2023, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, comprising only 17 percent of Congress, were responsible for 41.4 percent of the earmarks and nearly 30 percent of the funding. This highlights the inequitable and power-driven nature of earmarks.
  • Inequitable Impact: In the same fiscal year, 98.5 percent of Democrats in Congress received earmarks totaling over $14.5 billion, while only 48.7 percent of Republicans received earmarks totaling over $7.1 billion, illustrating the partisan nature of the practice.
  • Debunked Justifications: Article 1 arguments used to justify earmarks have been debunked. Senators and representatives have acknowledged that earmarks do not solve the incentive problems within Congress.
  • Call for Reform: The bill’s supporters advocate for a more transparent, merit-based, and consistent approach to federal funding, emphasizing the need for reform in how taxpayer dollars are allocated.

The Earmark Elimination Act represents a vital step towards ending the wasteful and corrupt practice of earmarks in Congress. The American people have made it clear that they want business as usual to end in Washington, D.C. The undersigned organizations call on all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to show their commitment to fiscal responsibility and support H.R. 8051.

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