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BPC’s Jason Grumet on Congressionally Directed Spending in the 118th Congress

Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the affirmative vote by the House Republican Conference to continue congressionally directed spending for the 118th Congress:

“Today, House Republicans voted to maintain congressionally directed spending for the next congress. This will enhance individual members’ influence over spending decisions and restore some of the power of the purse Congress has lost to the executive branch in recent decades. These individual member requests, a reformed and modernized version of the old earmark system, account for less than 0.3% of annual federal spending but remain a key legislative tool for building bipartisan consensus to address our national challenges.

“Directed spending is one of the most important tools Congress has. The ability of a member to get behind a local interest that matches the promises they made to their community, like expanding access to veterans’ health care or improving the local airport, matters a lot. These projects can bring more members into the conversation around an array of legislative and spending issues. Having more members in the conversation and giving voice to their constituent’s needs is how we move forward in getting things done in a closely divided congress.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has long supported Congress revitalizing its power of the purse. This Congress showed it can be done in a fiscally and ethically responsible manner by instituting key transparency and accountability reforms to make directed spending more resistant to the kind of abuses we witnessed in the past. I applaud the House Republican caucus for preserving this important legislative process.”

Michael Thorning, director of BPC’s Governance program, and Zach Courser, a BPC fellow, laid out the argument for congressionally directed spending in an op-ed in The Hill today.