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 reinstitute the use of earmarks for the appropriations and authorizing processes:
“A reformed earmarks system puts a small fraction of federal spending decisions—historically about 1% of one-third of all spending—back in the hands of accountable, elected officials who best understand the needs of their constituents. In doing so, Congress restores a key legislative tool for building bipartisan consensus to address our national challenges.
“The Bipartisan Policy Center has long argued for Congress to reassert its power of the purse, offering a number of options to make earmarking more transparent and resistant to the kind of abuses we witnessed in the past. Used responsibly, earmarks give local communities a voice in the legislative process. It is time for members of Congress, including in the Senate, to proudly reclaim this authority. I applaud Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for working with their conferences to craft a transparent and measured approach to locally directed congressional spending.
“It will take time to establish robust reporting and oversight, as well as to educate and train members and staff, especially as nearly 70% of the House and 60% of the Senate have never served while earmarks were allowed. It is incumbent upon both parties to commit to carefully implement these new approaches and processes in a way that will earn the public’s trust.
“BPC will continue to employ its expertise and engage both Democrats and Republicans in the coming transitional months to help secure a successful, responsible new system for earmarks.”