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I personally applaud the House Republican Conference for passing a moratorium against out-of-control earmarks. The powerful Tea Party movement has shown that taxpayers are frustrated with the reckless way Washington is spending their hard-earned money.
In 2009 alone, there was an estimated 11,914 earmarks for a total of over $20 billion. Senator McCain (R-AZ) listed the top 10 wasteful earmarks of 2009. Number one on that list is worth noting, Senator Tom Harkins (D-Iowa) directed $1.7 million taxpayer dollars to his Iowa district for ironic research on pig odor.
Countless members of the Tea Party movement are disenchanted with both the Republican and Democratic Party. Republicans continuously campaign on the conservative values of fiscal responsibility and free market principles. However, often times, once elected their spending habits closely resemble a big-spending Democrat.
According to taxpayer watchdog groups, elected Republicans are typically supporters of pork-barrel spending and directing large sums of taxpayer dollars into their districts for special interest projects. The Taxpayers for Common Sense last year compiled a list of senators based upon the number and total dollar amount of earmarks they introduced:
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi tops the list, with $470 million in earmarks for himself and his colleagues. Next up is Cochran's seatmate-Republican Roger Wicker, hitting the scales at $390 million. Two Democrats-Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Tom Harkin of Iowa-come in at Nos. 3 and 4, before Republican David Vitter of Louisiana rounds out the top five. Of the top 10, six are Republicans.
In addition, six Republicans were worthy of being on Citizens against Government Waste's list of the top "oinkers" of 2009.
The Super Thad Award
to Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for $653 million in total pork."
The Taxpayers Get Shelled Award
to Alabama Senators Richard Shelby (R) and Jeff Sessions (R), then-Representative Terry Everett (R), Representative Mike Rogers (R) for $413,000 for tri-state joint peanut research.
The Water Taxi to Nowhere Award
to then-Representative Chris Shays for $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service project.
As the grassroots Tea Party continues to gain momentum, they are demanding that the Republican Party returns to their fiscally conservative roots instead of diverting their money to be spent on special projects that are open to abuse and waste. Therefore, I applaud the House Republican Conference for voting for an immediate unilateral moratorium on earmarks. This was a necessary measure to limit the out-of-control spending in Washington. Taxpayers are counting upon the House Republican Conference to put a stop to the irresponsible and wasteful Congressional earmarking process.
Be forewarned, that the American people will be watching to ensure that these Republicans stay true to their pledge. We will hold Republicans accountable to assure that they remain fiscally responsible and do not seek, support or enact any wasteful earmarks. To see members of Congress that have already signed FreedomWorks' "No Earmark Pledge" please see: No Ear Mark Pledge Signers.