Sunday, November 19, 2006

Earmark reform

Congress has the authority to "earmark" (designate) funds in a spending bill for a specific project. A common and widely abused practice is to approach the chairman of a committee after the committee has approved a bill, asking that the committee report earmark some of that appropriation for a specific project. The process is in need of a serious overhaul, and on this issue I am old-school conservative.

Click below for more... I propose the following rules for earmarks, to make the process transparent and accountable to the people:

  • No appropriation or earmark shall be reported out of committee that has not been voted on by the full committee at least 24 hours after its publication in the Congressional Record; however, the committee may report appropriations and earmarks placed on the consent calendar without objection, provided that the 24-hour notice requirement has been met.

  • No appropriation or earmark may be added by amendment on the floor of the House or Senate except by roll-call vote.

  • Without exception, no appropriation or earmark may be added to the conference committee report that was not contained within either the House or the Senate version of the bill.
It is still possible to have earmarks, but you have to put them in the plain light of day. If you want $230 million for a bridge to serve 50 people, it will have to pass the committee first.

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