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Congress has stealthily packed $15.3 billion worth of earmarks into its 2019 fiscal year budgets despite its moratorium on the practice, according to a new report.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a Washington, D.C.-based taxpayer-watchdog group, released its annual ‘Pig Book' that tracks wasteful spending within the halls of Congress. Sens. Rand Paul (R., Ken.), Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) and Reps. Ted Budd (R., N.C.), Tim Burchett (R., Tenn), Bill Flores (R., Texas), and Tom McClintock (R,.Calif.) joined CAGW's president, Tom Schatz, Wednesday at the Phoenix Park Hotel in D.C. for an event on their findings and the state of earmark reform.
CAGW's investigation discovered more than 280 earmarks that are costing taxpayers a total of $15.3 billion for the current fiscal year, an increase of nearly 22 percent from its 2018 levels. The figures were gathered combing through spending tacked onto appropriations bills and is the largest amount approved by Congress since 2010.
"Dozens of members of Congress from both parties are publicly and privately lobbying for this wasteful and corrupt practice to return," said Schatz. "Pushing pork does not drain the swamp and it won't restore integrity to Washington. One of the best ways to clean up Washington's addiction to waste is for Congress to enact a permanent, statutory ban on earmarks."
The watchdog says that pork-barrel spending has increased drastically from 2017 due to the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which "obliterated the spending restraints imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act and paved the way for 13.4 percent increase in spending in FY's 2018 and 2019." In 2017, $6.8 billion went towards earmarks, a figure that is 125 percent lower than the current fiscal year.
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