In a letter released today, Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) requested that President Obama eliminate prize money associated with an Environmental Protection Agency video contest.
Blackburn's concerns arise from a contest announced by the EPA last week, inviting Americans to submit videos on the federal rulemaking process. According to the EPA's website, federal regulations outnumber Congressionally passed laws by a factor of ten to one, yet both carry the same force. In her letter Congressman Blackburn said:
"My concern with the contest is the use of taxpayer dollars as prize money. In an era of ever mounting debt, a $2,500.00 prize for a YouTube video is truly not the best use of taxpayer dollars. I understand that in context of the trillions the federal government spends every year, $2,500.00 seems inconsequential. As of this writing, it is only 0.0000000194% of the total federal debt. Washington spends fifty times this amount every second. We must remember however, $2,500.00 is the total tax contribution for a working American making just under $30,000 a year. Do you believe that taxpayer wants the entirety of his or her tax contribution to be given away as prize money for a YouTube video?"
Rep. Blackburn understands how important the federal rulemaking process is and encourages Americans to participate in the contest, knowing that "bragging rights" would be sufficient prize.
Rep. Blackburn also knows how badly many Tennesseans have been damaged by overreaching federal regulations- products of the rulemaking process in question. Using her Facebook site, Blackburn will be soliciting stories from 7th District residents for use in her own video submission. Should President Obama fail to rescind the prize money, and should Congressman Blackburn's video win the contest, she will donate the $2,500.00 to the Treasury for debt reduction.