WASHINGTON, DC - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) today reiterated that the numerous and significant earmark policies and reforms implemented for Fiscal Year 2010 will continue in force for all Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2011.
"Given recent developments in the House of Representatives with regard to Congressional earmarks, I felt it was important to remind my colleagues of the Committee's policy on earmarks and the significant steps we have already taken in the Senate to ensure unprecedented levels of transparency and reform in the earmarking process," said Senator Inouye. "I understand the reasons why the House might feel it is necessary to adjust its practices in light of previous problems in that body. The policies that the Appropriations Committee has adopted for the Senate safeguard the Senate's constitutional role in directing spending decisions while ensuring transparency and strict control on the practice of earmarking. In limiting earmarks to less than one percent of discretionary spending, we ensure that the excesses of the past will not be repeated."
Current Policies in Effect
Reductions in Earmarks
- Earmarks have been reduced to 50% of the 2006 level for non-project-based accounts.
- Earmarks for non-project based accounts were held below 1% of discretionary spending in FY 2010. This limit will remain in place, so long as Senator Inouye remains Chairman of the Committee.
- The Appropriations Committee will consider no request for spending on congressionally directed items, as defined under Senate Rule XLIV, unless a description of the items proposed − including their purpose, location, the recipient of the funds, and an explanation of why the spending is in the interest of the taxpayers − is made publicly available on the Senator's office website at the time they submit their request to the Appropriations Committee, and remain available for a minimum of 30 days after enactment of the related appropriations bill.
- Consistent with the earmark reforms enacted in 2007, Senators must certify that neither they nor their immediate family has a pecuniary interest in any congressionally directed spending they request from the Appropriations Committee.
- The Committee requires that earmark requests be submitted 30 days prior to any mark-up, ensuring adequate time for all requests to be reviewed by the public.
- As part of its website, the Committee provides a central webpage where the public and the media can access each Senator's requests, once they have been submitted.
- Congressional earmarks for private companies are subject to the same rules and regulations for competition as apply to items submitted as part of the President's budget.
- To increase public scrutiny of Committee decisions, earmark disclosure tables are made publicly available the day the subcommittee reports its bill or 24 hours before Full Committee consideration of appropriations legislation that has not been marked up by a Senate Subcommittee.
- Prior to full Senate consideration of a bill or Conference Report, the Chairman certifies that each congressionally directed spending item has been identified.