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Public Statements

Letter to Daniel Inouye, Chairman; Tom Harkin, Chairman; Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman; Richard Shelby, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee

United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., asking that as they work to ensure every Senator has a precise definition of what constitutes an earmark, they clarify that the term does not apply to authorized, national programs.

Last month, Chairman Inouye announced that a moratorium would be adopted by the Appropriations Committee on all earmarks. The committee is now in the process of thoroughly reviewing its earmark policy.

"Authorized, national programs such as Teach For America, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Reading Is Fundamental, National Writing Project, and Close Up are quite different from congressionally-directed spending items, which only benefit a specific state, congressional district or region, and change year-to-year," Sen. Landrieu wrote. "These programs, on the other hand, have been authorized and are nationally-structured with many years of bipartisan support. They benefit millions of individuals and families in a majority of states, districts, and regions across the country. In short, national, authorized programs are not what has invoked the public's demand for earmark reform and should not be classified as such."

March 1, 2011

The Honorable Daniel Inouye
Chairman
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
U.S. Capitol, Room 128
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 131
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Vice Chairman
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
U.S. Capitol, Room 128
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 131
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Inouye, Chairman Harkin, Vice Chairman Cochran, and Ranking Member Shelby:

Thank you for your leadership and diligent efforts to complete the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations process.

We recognize that on February 1st of this year, Senator Inouye stated that a moratorium would be adopted by the Appropriations Committee on all earmarks, and that the Committee was in the process of throughly reviewing its earmark policy to ensure that every Member has a precise definition of what constitutes earmark. As you work to operationalize a clear definition of "earmark" under paragraph 5(a) of Senate Rule XLIV, we respectfully ask that you clarify that this term does not apply to authorized, national programs.

Authorized, national programs such as Teach For America, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Reading Is Fundamental, National Writing Project, and Close Up are quite different from congressionally-directed spending items, which only benefit a specific state, congressional district or region, and change year-to-year. These programs, on the other hand, have been authorized and are nationally-structured with many years of bipartisan support. They benefit millions of individuals and families in a majority of states, districts, and regions across the country. In short, national, authorized programs are not what has invoked the public's demand for earmark reform and should not be classified as such.

We thank you for your consideration of this request. Should you have any questions, please contact Tasha Patusky in Senator Landrieu's office at (202) 224-5824. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter more thoroughly, and look forward to a positive resolution of this issue.

Sincerely,

Mary Landrieu
John F. Kerry
Kirsten E. Gillibrand
Benjamin Cardin
Michael F. Bennet
Ron Wyden
Robert Casey, Jr.
Christopher Coons
Thomas R. Carper
Kay Hagan


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