.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) this week renewed her support for a continued ban on earmarks, signing a bipartisan, bicameral letter to congressional leaders opposing a return to the practice of earmarking - a congressional spending practice that has contributed to widespread waste and abuse of taxpayer money.
The letter, led by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mark Udall (D-CO), is being circulated to members of both parties in the Senate and House.
"Congress has ample flexibility to exercise its power of the purse and represent the interests of our constituents without using earmarks. For instance, the appropriations process under regular order and our oversight authority gives members ample opportunity to set priorities and vet decisions with their elected peers," the letter says.
In November 2010 following her election to the Senate, Ayotte supported a two-year moratorium on requesting congressional earmarks. In 2013, Ayotte joined Senate Republicans in pledging to continue to adhere to the ban. She believes the earmark ban should be made permanent and is a cosponsor of the Earmark Elimination Act (S. 126). Ayotte cosponsored similar legislation as an amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, but the amendment failed to pass in a 40-59 vote.
BIPARTISAN LETTER TO CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader
Dear Congressional Leaders,
More than three years ago, members of Congress in both chambers from both parties stood together to impose a moratorium on the practice of congressional earmarking.
The American people celebrated this bipartisan leadership. But, recently, we have noted that members on both sides of the aisle are calling for a return to earmarking. We believe this would be unwise and would further damage Congress' reputation and ability to tackle the nation's challenges.
We recognize there are a wide range of views on this subject in our caucuses but we believe it is important to reaffirm our support for this policy. Congress has ample flexibility to exercise its power of the purse and represent the interests of our constituents without using earmarks. For instance, the appropriations process under regular order and our oversight authority gives members ample opportunity to set priorities and vet decisions with their elected peers.
We therefore urge you to pledge your continued support for the earmark moratorium and do everything in your power to work together to address the nation's highest priorities without the unhelpful distraction of earmarks.