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On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to VOTE YES on Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. The amendment strikes Section 1002 of the bill; a section that incorporates all of the earmarks written in committee giving them the force of law despite the fact that those earmarks are not in the bill, were not debated, voted on, or signed into law.
This incorporation language reversed the president’s Executive Order aiming to stop secret, non-legislative earmarks. It also forces agencies to make funding decisions based not on merit, but on instructions from committee staff that author these reports.
Most troubling, Section 1002 prevents Congress from debating and voting on earmarks, removing any transparency or accountability the Constitution sets forth.
The practice of secret earmarks for political expedience over policy is a dangerous precedent and the symptom of a very broken earmark system. As it stands, the vast number of earmarks over the years has meant less and less oversight of taxpayer dollars. Inserting earmarks into committee reports and not the bill proper is the most egregious example of this waste. The Senate has a responsibility to be accountable to those it represents and to make the legislative process as clear and transparent as possible, ensuring trust with the people from whom it derives its power.
Section 1002 is certainly clear, however. It is a clear circumvention of the efforts to stop the waste and favoritism of earmarks. Rather than shed much needed light on this process, Section 1002 is another attempt to keep pork barrel spending from public scrutiny. Striking this section from the Defense Authorization bill would be a great step toward real spending reform.
We will count your vote on Sen. DeMint’s amendment to the Defense Authorization bill as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard for 2008. The FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.