Advocates looking to rein in congressional spending are targeting a special type of pork, called an earmark. Billions of dollars are anonymously added to budgets at the last minute for various projects bypassing oversight. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation is kicking off a bus tour of some of the more egregious earmarks. One is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where over a million of your tax dollars went for a “Rockin’ the Schools” program. It will also stop at the University of Missouri, where 1.7 million dollars went to research on shitake mushrooms. Tim Phillips will lead the tour.
“This is my all-time favorite. The Kentucky Department of Charitable Gaming got an earmark to protect their Kentucky bingo parlors from terrorism. We have a quote from the spokesperson at the department saying the following: ‘Hey, we looked into this and it’s a real threat.’”
New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett is gathering conservative colleagues to oppose the current budget unless some light is shed on earmarks.
“But before we conservatives will support this budget, because it really doesn’t rein in spending to the degree that we would like it to, we are asking that there be budget process reform in the budget. That you can’t do any of these dead of night insertion into bills of projects that you never saw until the next day when the bill comes up for a vote.”
Chris Kinnan of FreedomWorks applauds the tour’s goals, but thinks a real resolution to the problem is a long way off.
“They say in Washington that there are three parties, Democrats, Republicans and appropriators. And right now it’s very clear that appropriators are running the roost in congress.”
In this year’s budget, appropriators of both parties have earmarked 27 billion dollars.