Daines leads Republican effort to permanently prohibit earmarks

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on Monday led nine GOP cosponsors in introducing the Earmark Elimination Act of 2021.

“Earmarks do nothing but add to the toxic, swampy culture that D.C.’s known for,” Sen. Daines said. “These backroom deals promote pay-for-play behavior that make lobbyists rich on the taxpayer’s dime. It’s time we get rid of earmarks once and for all.”

An earmark is a provision inserted into a discretionary spending appropriations bill that directs funds to a specific recipient while circumventing the merit-based or competitive funds allocation process. An earmark would be permanently prohibited under S. 501, which was introduced following an agreement recently made between U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to bring earmarks back to Congress.

Sen. Daines on March 1 sponsored S. 501 with cosponsors including U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

“There’s no reason to go back to the old days of politicians pigging out on taxpayer dollars — earmarking millions for their own pet projects, like the infamous bridge to nowhere in Alaska,” said Sen. Ernst. “It’s past time to permanently ban the bacon from the legislative process, and finally put an end to one of Washington’s swampiest traditions.”

Sen. Portman agreed. “At a time of record debt, it is more important than ever to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending once and for all,” he said.