Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), made the following statement after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their Fiscal Year 2011 work plan that includes $150,000 to study deepening of the Charleston Port.
"I appreciate that after we have ended earmarks, the Corps chose to fund the study for Charleston port deepening based on merit instead of being forced to fund wasteful earmarks based on politics," said Senator DeMint. "This is a step in the right direction, but now it is important as ever that we continue to push for long-term spending reforms. We need more transparency on how projects are selected and ensure that the Corps does not become overrun with political earmarks again so that true national priorities like the Charleston port continue to receive the necessary support."
Senator DeMint has introduced the Army Corps of Engineers Reform Act of 2011 to reform the way water resources projects are funded by eliminating the need for wasteful earmarks, focusing on national priorities, and giving states flexibility to meet critical needs. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is lead cosponsor of the bill.
The plan includes three major reforms: 1) Eliminate the Corps' more than 10-year backlog of over 1,000 earmarks by increasing transparency and establishing a Water Resources Commission to better prioritize water resource projects performed by the Corps in the United States, 2) Empower the Corps to undertake studies and construction projects based on national priority instead of politically-directed earmarks, 3) Reform the administration of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to allow states to choose, within the proper parameters, where to use the Harbor Maintenance taxes collected at their own ports.