In a huge victory for American taxpayers, the Senate Republican conference Thursday adopted Senator Ben Sasse’s (R-Neb.) amendment to permanently ban earmarks in the 116th Congress and beyond. 

“Earmarks are the ‘broken windows’ of government overspending, the currency of Congressional corruption, and the price of bad votes for more spending,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “Earmarks are used to buy the votes of congressmen who would never vote for the overall package standing alone, without a bribe.”

ATR has had a longstanding opposition to earmarks and pork barrel spending. Put simply, earmarks are spending programs that members of Congress hide in appropriation or authorization bills to “bring home the bacon” for their districts. This kind of frivolous spending is disrespectful to the taxpayers and a flagrant violation of Congressional duty to be careful stewards of public funds.

“It’s pretty simple: Earmarks are a crummy way to govern and they have no business in Congress,” said Sasse. “Backroom deals, kickbacks, and earmarks feed a culture of constant incumbency and that’s poisonous to healthy self-government.” 

Congress banned earmarks in 2011, but the moratorium expired at the beginning of the 116th Congress in January. Sasse’s amendment bans earmarks for all future Congresses. Without Sasse’s amendment, earmarks would have returned.