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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.




Tim Phillips


Americans for Prosperity


Grover Norquist


Americans for Tax Reform


John Berthoud


National Taxpayers Union


Mallory Factor


Free Enterprise Fund


Tom Schatz


Council for Citizens Against Government Waste


Jim Martin


60 Plus Association


Matt Kibbe





David N. Bossie


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