Coalition of Pro-Taxpayer Groups Ask House Republican Conference Not to Bring Back Earmarks

November 14, 2018

Dear Representative,

The earmark moratorium was established beginning in 2011 after Republicans won back the House of Representatives. Your leadership has wisely chosen to maintain the moratorium on this corrupt, self-serving, and costly practice in the proposed Republican Conference Rules for the 116th Congress.

We understand that an amendment may be offered to either amend or repeal the moratorium during consideration of the rules on Thursday, November 15. On behalf of the millions of taxpayers represented by the undersigned organizations, we urge you to reject any such proposal.

The negative aspect of earmarks may not be apparent to all House Republicans, more than two-thirds of whom have been elected following the establishment of the moratorium. These members were not present when members, staff, lobbyists, and members were incarcerated due to earmarks. They may also not be aware that the distribution of earmarks is neither fair nor equitable. In the 111th Congress, when the names of members who obtained earmarks were listed in the appropriations bills, the 81 House and Senate Appropriations Committee members, who comprised 15 percent of Congress, had 51 percent of the earmarks and 61 percent of the money. This outrageously disproportionate distribution of earmarks will not change if they are restored.

It appears likely that the new House Democratic majority will restore earmarks. Should Republicans either lead the way or follow suit, a significant distinction of fiscal responsibility between the two parties will vanish. We urge you to consider how you would explain to your constituents when you run for re-election in 2020 that after promising to help shrink the size of government, you voted to restore one of the most corrupt and costly ways that you and your colleagues could waste the taxpayers’ money.

We urge you to avoid the temptation to bring back bridges to nowhere, teapot museums, and indoor rainforests by voting against any amendment to the Conference Rules to partially or fully restore earmarks.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

David McIntosh. President, Club for Growth

Tim Chapman, Executive Director, Heritage Action for America

Olivia Grady, Senior Fellow, Center for Worker Freedom

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Carrie L. Lukas, President, Independent Women’s Forum

Heather R. Higgins, CEO. Independent Women’s Voice

Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Andrew Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Brett Healy, President, The John K. MacIver Institute of Public Policy

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