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Press Release

    A New Call for Earmark Reform

    Click here to download a .pdf of the coalition letter

    February 2, 2007

     

    President George W. Bush

    The White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

    Washington, DC 20500

    Click here to download a .pdf of the coalition letter

    February 2, 2007

     

    President George W. Bush

    The White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

    Washington, DC 20500

     

    Dear President Bush:

     

    We commend you for renewing your commitment to earmark reform in your State of the Union Address and we share your hope that Congress will continue to make progress on this issue.  There are also important actions that you can take as head of the executive branch to curtail earmarking.

     

    As you know, H.J.Res. 20, the FY2007 omnibus continuing resolution, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 2007.  The spending bill reportedly does not contain any new earmarks, although it does allow for the continued funding of ongoing earmarks. 

     

    The resolution also requires each federal agency to submit account level details and justifications for how its appropriated funding will be spent in the remainder of fiscal year 2007.  We are concerned that this process will create an opportunity for Members of Congress to influence agencies to fund favored projects, perhaps using implicit threats to withhold future funding.

     

    In the spirit of earmark reform and to prevent any appearance of impropriety, we urge you to commit each agency to refrain from including any grants or awards not based on a competitive bidding or formula-driven process in their spending plans.  In addition, we urge you to make all agency budget justification documents publicly available on the Internet within 24 hours of submission.  The American people deserve to know how these agencies plan to spend their hard-earned tax dollars.  These budget justifications should no longer be the sole purview of the Appropriations Committees. 

     

    H.J.Res 20 also calls on you to ignore non-binding committee report earmarks by confirming explicitly that they do not carry the weight of law. We join Congress in urging you to take this step.  Mandates in conference reports do not meet the presentment clause of the Constitution—they are not law and can be ignored. The 1974 Budget Act requires that funds are spent on the accounts for which they are appropriated, but not on specific earmarks contained in committee reports.  H.J.Res 20 makes clear that Congress would welcome executive action to ignore these non-binding earmarks.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Tim Phillips

    President

    Americans for Prosperity

     

    Grover Norquist

    President

    Americans for Tax Reform

     

    John Berthoud

    President

    National Taxpayers Union

     

    Mallory Factor

    President

    Free Enterprise Fund

     

    Tom Schatz

    President

    Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

     

    Jim Martin

    President

    60 Plus Association

     

    Matt Kibbe

    President

    FreedomWorks

     

     

    David N. Bossie

    President

    Citizens United

     

    J. William Lauderback

    Executive Vice President

    American Conservative Union

     

    Daniel Clifton

    Executive Director

    American Shareholders Association

     

    Doug Bandow

    Vice President for Policy

    Citizen Outreach  Project

     

    Geoffrey Segal

    Director of Government Reform

    Reason Foundation

     

    Cc: Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns

    Cc: Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez

    Cc: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

    Cc: Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings

    Cc: Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman

    Cc: Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt

    Cc: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson

    Cc: Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne

    Cc: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales

    Cc: Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao

    Cc: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

    Cc: Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters

    Cc: Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

    Cc: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson

    Cc: Agency for International Development Administrator Randall L. Tobias

    Cc: National Aeronautics and Space Administrator Michael Griffin

    Cc: National Science Foundation Director Arden L. Bement, Jr.

    Cc: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Director James C. Duff

    Cc: Office of National Drug Control Policy Director John P. Walters

    Cc: General Services Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan

    Cc: Patent and Trademark Office Director Jon W. Dudas

    Cc: Office of Personnel Management Director Linda M. Springer

    Cc: Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein

    Cc: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson

    Cc: Indian Health Service Director Charles W. Grim

    Cc: Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lawrence M. Small

    Cc: Social Security Commissioner Linda S. McMahon

    Cc: Corporation for National and Community Service CEO David Eisner

    Cc: Corporation for Public Broadcasting President Patricia de Stacy Harrison

    Cc: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach

    Cc: Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman