An Earful About Earmarks (April 25, 2011)

. . .

5          “The era of earmarks is not over.”

C          “I hear that we have not heard the last.  Earmarks are misunderstood.  How many citizens really know what they are criticizing.  Remember the typical two stages of a bill in Congress.  One committee ‘authorizes’ a law that authorizes an activity or program.  After the other bills in the other authorizing committees are authorized, the Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees review them and ‘appropriate’ funds when appropriate.  After review, the authorized activity or program may or may not be appropriated funds.”

5          “The Interior Committee authorizes an activity or program and then the appropriate subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee appropriates money.”

C          “And with more steps in the process, there are fewer spending opportunities.”

5          “An earmark is a way to bypass this settled procedure and practice.  More powerful Representatives and Senators are able to slip spending provisions into bills without Congressional oversight.”

C          “The oversight is the lack of oversight.”

5          “Right.  The authorization/appropriation process is a way and a means to maintain internal checks and balances.  Today, there are too many checks being written by the government and too little balance.  The amount involved admittedly is just a drop in a deluge of deficits and debt.  However, allowing earmarks reflects a lack of disciple and purpose.”

C          “Earmarks are not unconstitutional.  Earmarks are not illegal.  Earmarks are perfectly legal.  But hear me out.  Earmarks are a leading cause of deficit spending.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

One man’s earmark is another man’s sage expenditure

Authorize And Appropriate; Avoid Earmark Expenditures

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