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On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your Republican senator(s) and urge him or her to support the amendment introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to extend the existing ban on earmarks in the Senate. The amendment will be proposed in the Senate Republican Conference meeting Tuesday.
Sen. Flake once called earmarks “the currency of corruption in Congress.” He was right. Earmarks also became part of a pattern which exemplified how Republicans lost their way on spending and government waste. Congress approved fewer than 2,000 earmarks in 1995, the year in which Republicans took control of Congress, at a cost of $10 billion. In 2005, the number of earmarks rose to nearly 14,000 and came with a price tag of more than $27 billion. While the total number of earmarks declined in 2006, the cost grew to $29 billion.
Earmarks became synonymous with congressional scandals. Though he was referring to the panel in the lower chamber, disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff called the appropriations committee a “favor factory.” Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) was prosecuted for and convicted of trading bribes for earmarks.
On November 8, the American people decided to “drain the swamp.” Bringing back earmarks, which serve the K Street class and other special interests, would be a remarkably tone deaf decision by the Senate Republican Conference. Moreover, the public’s share of the national debt has grown by more than $8.1 trillion in the past eight years, to nearly $14.428 trillion. Republicans must take seriously budget deficits and debt, and bringing back earmarks when the Congressional Budget Office is projecting substantial increases in budget deficits sends the wrong message to the American people.
For these reasons, we ask you to contact your Republican senator(s) and ask him or her to support the Flake amendment to the rules of the Senate Republican Conference to continue the existing ban on earmarks.
Adam Brandon, President and CEO, FreedomWorks