Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) learned a valuable lession today about member’s desire to go back to the practice of earmarking pet projects. Toomey and McCaskill offered an Amendment to the STOCK Act that would have created a new Senate point of order against earmarks in bills. They were met with bipartisan opposition to this common sense idea.
The Earmark Elimination Act of 2011 offered by Toomey and McCaskill in the form of an amendment creats a point of order against language in a bill or report that was specifically requested by a Senator or House member for either a tax provision, narrow eligibility criteria benefitting a specific entity or a targeted tarriff that would fit the below definition.
Providing, authorizing, or recommending a specific amount of discretionary budget authority, credit authority, or other spending authority for a contract, loan, loan guarantee, grant, loan authority, or other expenditure with or to an entity, or targeted to a specific State, locality or Congressional district, other than through a statutory or administrative formula-driven or competitive award process.
Basically, if a Senator or Representative sends a letter to request a new bridge or highway in the district, they would need 67 votes to move forward with this project. Toomey and McCaskill lost this vote 40-59 with thirteen Republicans siding with porkers to reinstate the practice that allows members to funnel projects to the home state.
Brian Baker, President of Ending Spending said today thhat we was disappointed in this vote.
I am disappointed that the Senate has failed to pass a permanent earmark ban. We appreciate the efforts by Senators McCaskilland Toomey to end earmarks. The American people are frustrated that their elected officials can’t stop spending their hard-earned tax dollars on boondoggles, such as a bridge to nowhere. With the current earmark moratorium expiring at the end of 2012, if Congress does not end this destructive practice once and for all, the earmark favor factory will re-open for business.
These inside the beltway elites just don’t understand that earmarks are the gateway drug to overspending. When will they prove to the American people that they can control their appetite for spending borrowed cash on projects that are not necessary for the future of America? The Tea Party may need to send another strong message to the members of both parties in Washington that they will not tolerate members who refuse to cut the size and scope of the federal government.