HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE RADIO ADDRESS BY REP. PETER ROSKAM (R-IL)
REP. ROSKAM: Hello, I'm Peter Roskam, and I have the privilege to represent the people of Illinois' 6th Congressional District, located just outside of Chicago.
After serving 13 years in the Illinois state legislature, I chose to run for Congress because, in part, I was tired with the amount of wasteful spending in Washington and the lack of transparency in the spending process.
Well, I've been here now about nine months, and I've seen the process firsthand.
One of the things that we in Congress have the opportunity to do for our constituents is to request funding for critical infrastructure and economic development projects in our district. Upon that request, federal money can then be earmarked for these projects.
So when the time came for me to put in my funding requests, I made all 19 of them public. After all, the American people have a right to know how I propose to spend their hard-earned tax dollars and they in turn certainly have a right to review whether they believe it's being spent in the right place.
Well, what's absurd is that I actually didn't have to do that.
Under so-called "reforms" that were put in place by the Democrat majority in the House, I could have just requested the money through a letter to a powerful committee chairman and the money could have made its way into a bill with thousands of other earmarks and then rode the express train to becoming law without ever being discussed in a committee hearing room or even on the floor of the House of Representatives.
That just doesn't make any sense, and I'm sorry to say that the lack of transparency in the earmark process is just one of many broken promises that have left the American people worse off, less informed and underrepresented.
Earmarks should be exposed to the full sunshine of public scrutiny, and that's what I, and my House Republican colleagues, are fighting for right now. We've put forth a petition that, if we can get the signatures of a majority of the members of the House, we can have a vote over whether all earmarks, no matter what bill they're in, no matter if they're worth millions of dollars or just a penny, can be debated and challenged on the floor of the people's House.
It's your money, and you have a right to know how it's being spent. It's that simple, but it's that important. So I urge you to call your representative's office and ask whether he or she has signed the earmark reform petition, so that we can get back to restoring the trust of my neighbors and yours in the way Washington does the public's business.
I'm Peter Roskam. Thanks for listening.