Sen. Cruz, Rep. Budd, Colleagues Urge Senate, House Appropriations Committees to Not Revive Corrupt Earmark Spending

‘We cannot imagine a worse way to build back trust in Congress than to resurrect a system that has been roundly rejected as corruptive and wasteful for decades’

Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) today sent a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, urging them to not revive the corrupt practice of earmarks—a spending practice that was rightfully banned under a past Republican Congress. Co-signers of the letter include Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

House co-signers include Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Marjorie Greene (R-Ga.), Bob Good (R-Va.), W. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.).

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote:

Recent news reports have suggested that you both plan to announce the return of earmarks in the coming weeks under the term “member-directed spending.” We are writing to strongly oppose resurrecting what is widely considered one of the most wasteful and corrupt practices in Congressional history.”

[…]

We cannot imagine a worse way to build back trust in Congress than to resurrect a system that has been roundly rejected as corruptive and wasteful for decades. After four years of a president who promised to “drain the swamp,” Democrats seem intent on filling it up with pork-barrel spending in the form of earmarks. Bringing back earmarks would be a grave mistake for Congress and future generations of taxpayers.”

Read the full text of their letter here and below.

March 10, 2021

The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Chairman

Senate Appropriations Committee

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Chairwoman

House Appropriations Committee

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Leahy and Chairwoman DeLauro:

Recent news reports have suggested that you both plan to announce the return of earmarks in the coming weeks under the term “member-directed spending.” We are writing to strongly oppose resurrecting what is widely considered one of the most wasteful and corrupt practices in Congressional history.

As you know, the 2000s were marred by infamous earmarks like the Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere,” an indoor rainforest in Iowa, a Teapot Museum, and absurd research projects like one analyzing goth culture. The wide-spread practice of earmarks was corrupting. Earmarks were used to buy and sell votes and reward favors. Earmarks brought discredit on the House and Senate and ultimately led to several Members of Congress being convicted on corruption charges. In order to restore public trust in Congress, the practice of earmarking was officially put on a moratorium in 2011 under Republican leadership.

Nothing epitomizes what is wrong with Washington more than pork-barrel spending in the form of congressional earmarks. According to the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, Congress has doled out more than 111,000 earmarks worth more than $375 billion since 1991.

Earmarks also help enable Washington’s spending addiction. They have been used as a quasi-legalized form of bribery to entice members of Congress to approve large spending packages that increase our deficit and explode the national debt. In an era of trillion-dollar deficits and a $27 trillion debt, it is hard to imagine how we will ever be able to restore any form of financial responsibility if big spenders in the halls of Congress are able to use earmarks to keep spending money we don’t have.

We cannot imagine a worse way to build back trust in Congress than to resurrect a system that has been roundly rejected as corruptive and wasteful for decades. After four years of a president who promised to “drain the swamp,” Democrats seem intent on filling it up with pork-barrel spending in the form of earmarks. Bringing back earmarks would be a grave mistake for Congress and future generations of taxpayers.