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Power of the Purse: Restoring Congress's Directed Spending Authority


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Article I of the Constitution provides that Congress has primary authority to determine federal spending priorities: “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” However, Congress has turned over more and more authority to the executive branch, empowering it to make decisions about which programs, projects, and communities receive funding. The 117th Congress began to turn that dynamic around when it reformed and resurrected one of its most impactful tools: congressionally directed spending.

Congressionally directed spending, also known as earmarks, allows our elected representatives to use their unique understanding of community needs to ensure priorities in their districts receive federal support.

Join BPC, the American Enterprise Institute, and experts on Congress as we assess how earmarks have been restored and how it can be improved in the future.

Featured Speakers

Panel One

Zachary Courser
Fellow, BPC

Molly Reynolds
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

Mark Strand
President, Congressional Institute

Moderated by:

Kevin Kosar
Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Panel Two

Allison Bawden
Director, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Zach Graves
Executive Director, Lincoln Network

Anne Meeker
Director of Special Initatives, POPVOX Foundation

Moderated by:

Franz Wuerfmannsdobler
Senior Advisor, BPC

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