Legislation combats earmarking; provides greater transparency to appropriations process

Washington, D.C. – Americans for Tax Reform today endorsed the Pork-Barrel Reduction Act and
called for its immediate passage. A bipartisan group of 10 Senators, led by Tom Coburn (R-OK)
introduced the legislation today as a first step toward the elimination of harmful pork-barrel politics.

Among the provisions of the Pork-Barrel Reduction Act is a call for greater transparency in the
appropriations process by requiring that conference reports be filed and publicly available for at least 48 hours prior to floor consideration.

“Instead of being buried in inaccessible committee reports, earmarks need to be brought into the open and printed directly into the bill text along with the name of the Congressman or Senator requesting the earmark,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “All earmarks should be available for public inspection before they are voted on, rather than being thrown in at the last minute behind closed doors.”

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan vetoed an appropriations bill, citing the 121 earmarks contained within the bill. The quantity and cost of earmarks has skyrocketed in recent years: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost to taxpayers of the nearly 16,000 earmarks within appropriations bills in fiscal year 2005 was $47.4 billion.

“Earmarking has gotten out of hand,” continued Norquist. "This legislation is an essential first step in preventing Congress from raiding the wallets of taxpayers to pay for local pet projects whenever it is politically expedient.”