Taking it in the Ear(marks)



January, 2008


It’s time for Congress to get slapped upside the head.

Our irresponsible and corrupt legislators in Washington have attached almost 12,000 earmarks to the latest defense appropriations and omnibus spending bills. We have yet to total the cost of these, but in FY06 the cost of earmarks totaled over $63 billion – up approximately $16 billion over the cost of earmarks in FY05 (a 33% increase).

Have all of these earmarks been carefully considered by Congress and voted on prior to being forwarded to the president for his signature?

Certainly, the Congress carefully reviewed these expenditures before committing the president to spend your hard-earned money, right? You did work hard for it, didn’t you?

The answers probably won’t surprise you. The vast majority of these earmarks have had little or no review. They were never read, studied, debated or subjected to a vote. They were written into committee reports by individual congressmen – often to please friends, supporters, and special interests – with the requested money just added to the overall appropriation amount. And, yes, you did work hard for the money you earned and that Congress shamelessly squanders.

Do you want your taxes to pay for these?

* $300,000 earmark for the San Francisco Exploratorium museum proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 

* $1 million earmark for the Woodstock Museum proposed by Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer

* $2 million earmark for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, the Rangel Conference Center and the Charles Rangel Library in New York City proposed by Congressman Charlie Rangel. 

What might surprise you is that these spending bills, which were passed by Congress and sent to the president, don’t explicitly include over 90% of these “funded” earmarks. They are only mentioned or listed in committee reports that accompany the bills on their way to the White House.

Since these bills do not explicitly reference the earmarks, such spending has not been “approved” nor been “presented” to the president as required by Article 1, Section 7 of the U. S. Constitution. Therefore, they are not legally binding and should be ignored by the Executive Branch.

That is right, Mr. President, IGNORE THOSE EARMARKS!! More specifically, prohibit federal agencies from spending money on them without your specific approval. That will get Congress’ attention!

Oh, it would also save the average U.S. household nearly $1000. Can anyone say, “TAXCUT!”!