Congress will soon wrap up its business for the year and go home for Christmas.  Soon after returning, the budget and appropriations cycle will dominate life on Capitol Hill.

Americans for Tax Reform remains committed in the new Congress to preserving the House ban on spending earmarks.  Getting a culture of corruption and influence peddling out of the legislative process has been a keystone achievement of the Republican majority.

Earmarks have an obvious character.  They are spending programs tucked into appropriation or authorization bills by Members of Congress in order to “bring home the bacon.”  ATR has had a long history of not agreeing that tariff or tax revenue measures are germane to the otherwise essential earmark ban.

We would agree with others, too, that legal settlements made by the United States government and approved through legislation are neither part of the letter nor the spirit of the earmark ban.  These legal settlements have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in litigation costs and denied windfalls to the trial lawyer bar. They ultimately result in less government spending, not more.  They do not benefit particular Members of Congress like wasteful pork barrel earmarks do.

The earmark ban is too important to be bogged down in unintended consequences and mission creep.  ATR looks forward to working with Congress to keep the earmark ban strong for many years to come.