Good morning folks -  

I take seriously the responsibility you have entrusted me with to cut reckless spending in our federal government. That's why, every month, I research and identify areas of waste, abuse and inefficiencies in Washington and present my Squeal Award, which recognizes an expense, program or concept that has proven to be wasteful. 

Continue reading to learn more about what all goes into cutting wasteful spending in the federal government…

Squeal Award: Congressional Earmarks

I firmly believe that pork belongs on your dining room table and not in legislation; especially when it comes to  congressional earmarks that have no place in Congress.

An earmark is any congressionally directed spending item, tax benefit, or tariff benefit targeted to a specific recipient or group of beneficiaries. For decades, congressional earmarks were used as part of backroom deals to try to sweeten bills so members of Congress would vote for them or to appease special interest groups. This practice, also called “pork barreling”, is a reckless and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. 

Take for example $1.9 million tucked away in a 2009 transportation appropriation bill for a water taxi in Pleasure Beach, Connecticut, or $190,000 hidden in the Legislative Appropriations Act of 2009 for the digitization of the New York Historical Society Collection. And who could forget the famous “Bridge to Nowhere” – a $223 million bridge to an Alaskan island that is home to only 50 people. This is reckless, irresponsible, and has no place in the bills they were snuck into.

In 2010, Congress put in effect a moratorium on earmarks to improve transparency; however, it was not made permanent. Last month, the House Rules Committee held hearings in which they considered lifting this moratorium and bring earmarks back.

Earmarks cannot and should not be part of our legislative process – period.

That’s why I  joined a bipartisan group of  Senators in introducing the Earmark Elimination Act, which would permanently ban earmarks.

Ensuring that this tactic can never be used again will promote much-needed transparency within the legislative process and put us on a better track toward reigning in our out-of-control spending.

I'm presenting this month's Squeal Award to corrupt congressional earmarks and will continue my efforts to cut the congressional pork and safeguard your hard-earned dollars.

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!