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Press Release

    Restore Oversight and Authorization to the Budget Process

    Download the .pdf of the full letter with signatures

    July 25, 2007

    The Honorable James M. Inhofe
    United States Senator
    453 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Senator Inhofe:

    On behalf of our organizations, we are writing to support your contention that Congressional authorizing committees are an integral part of the effort to exercise discipline over out-of-control earmarking in appropriations bills.

    Download the .pdf of the full letter with signatures

    July 25, 2007

    The Honorable James M. Inhofe
    United States Senator
    453 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Senator Inhofe:

    On behalf of our organizations, we are writing to support your contention that Congressional authorizing committees are an integral part of the effort to exercise discipline over out-of-control earmarking in appropriations bills.

    In the current debate over earmark reform in annual appropriation measures, what may have been lost is that the proper role of authorizing committees is to review earmark requests and approve them before the projects receive money through the appropriations process. Increasingly, congressional practice has bypassed this aspect of the authorizing and appropriations process. Authorization of projects in legislation should not be automatic. Prior to a project being authorized, the appropriate congressional committees should examine the merits of the project to be certain that the request meets stringent, relevant criteria that qualify it for taxpayer funding.

    We encourage scrutiny of undeserving projects at the time they appear for appropriation, but they should also be subject to scrutiny during the authorization process in order to ensure that they are economically justified andtechnically feasible.

    We appreciate your consistent position as former Chairman and now Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and your efforts to establish reasonable criteria for member projects calling for new national public infrastructure.
     
    We agree that a thorough evaluation during the authorization process provides the necessary foundation for raising a point of order against unauthorized appropriations. We hope that the recognition of the necessary role of the authorizing committees can shape the earmark reform debate.

    Sincerely,

    Download the .pdf of the full letter with signatures