By Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
There is no daylight between my position and Speaker-designate John Boehner on earmarks. Period.
I have repeatedly said that I agree with, applaud, and wholeheartedly support Speaker-designate John Boehner’s position on earmarks. I am opposed to earmarks. I recently made that point to a reporter from a Capitol Hill newspaper, but it was left out of their story on the GOP and earmarks.
Some media outlets are trying to show divisions within the Republican Conference at every opportunity. Like a family, differences of opinions may exist from time to time, but in the end, Republicans are committed to standing together for the American people. Our desire is to support the will of our constituents who called for limited government and adherence to the Constitution as demonstrated in early November.
Last March, I enthusiastically endorsed my party’s decision to swear off earmarks. Earmarks are a root contributor to Washington’s spending addiction. Now more than ever, as our nation approaches $14 trillion in debt, we need to tighten our belt and earmarks are a great place to dry up funding.
I do, however, believe increased transparency needs to be brought to funding requests. I believe some transparency has been brought to the process since the earmark moratorium took effect, but we must continue to strive to do better.
Before the appropriations process was corrupted by earmark-style spending, an orderly and Constitutional process for funding requests existed. Committee hearings laid out requests through the legislative process as intended by our Founding Fathers. These hearings took place in the light-of-day and were recorded for the American people.
Recently, porking has gotten way out of control. The stimulus bill is an obvious example of lawmakers’ unrestrained spending which was put together behind closed-doors, away from the eyes of the American people (and the minority party for that matter).
Our nation is a democratic republic for a reason: Congress is not meant to cede spending authority to the Executive Branch. Nor should transportation spending be left to a select few at the Department of Transportation and the committee staff for Transportation and Infrastructure. Requests for funding transportation projects should go through an open and transparent process in Congress, without sway by political affiliation.
I am a Constitutional Conservative through-and-through and I will continue to stand by the earmark moratorium and that stand goes hand-in-hand with my desire to see Congress return to an orderly, Constitutional and transparent process. As we enter the 112th Congress, it’s time to revisit the funding process and remember how it was truly designed in our founding document, the Constitution.