(Which we edititorialized on here. Passed 245-171 this evening.)
“Today was an important day for the House as an institution. Passage of these earmark reforms is a sign that Republicans are returning to the reform agenda that closed the House Bank and House Post Office, ended decades of Democrat rule in Congress, and put us in the majority 12 years ago. Changing the way Washington does business starts with changing the way Congress does business. Republicans recognize that, and today we took real action to change the way in which Congress spends the people’s money.
“Members should be ready and willing to put their name on the projects they request, and if they aren’t willing to do that they shouldn’t expect the American people to pay for it. Bringing greater sunshine into the earmarking process will increase public confidence in how the American people’s tax dollars are spent. Speaker Hastert and Chairman Dreier deserve great credit for their leadership on this issue, and I’d like to thank all our committee chairmen and members who have worked with us to bring greater accountability and transparency in how Congress spends taxpayer dollars.”
“No one can defend opposing this reform. The only possible explanation for voting against this rule change is that a member of Congress wants to be able to secretly spend the taxpayers’ money on personal pork projects without being accountable.”
Jeb Hensarling’s office e-mails out:
Some recent Congressional earmarks include: $800,000 for buses at Disneyland in the previous two years; $179,000 for hydroponic tomato research, $1 million for the “Water Free Urinal Conservation Initiative,” $500,000 for a Teapot Museum and last – but not least – $223 million for the now infamous Bridge to nowhere.
“Not all earmarks are wasteful, but they are a little bit like alcohol. Although a glass of red wine can be good for you every day, if you’re a wino you probably need to be in rehab,” said Hensarling. “And although the billions of dollars in earmarks are a small portion of the total federal budget, they are a large portion of the culture of spending. Today we made clear that our constituents should judge us on the principles for which we stand rather than the pork that we are ably to carry.