Media should press Congressional candidates on earmarks, proxy voting

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

All Orgon Congressional candidates should be asked their opinion on these two questions (1) Do you support Earmarks? (2) Do you support proxy voting?

We bet they don’t want to answer the question.

Here is why this important:

1) Earmarks are the funding for special projects included in massive spending bills, also called the “pork”. The recent passage of the federal $1.5 trillion dollar budget bill included 5,000 separate earmarks at a cost of $9.7 billion for the taxpayer. This cost comes on top of hundreds of billions of dollars for COVID relief and the infrastructure package. It’s easy to see that earmarks quickly lead to exorbitant charges for the taxpayer as elected officials race to get funding for their special interest projects.  Some of the worst wasteful spending in the history of Congress (Bridge to nowhere) have been earmarks.   Earmarks created many scandals years ago but were thrown out during the Tea Party wave a decade ago.  Now they are back.  The public should know where candidates stand on this key issue.

2) Proxy voting is a form of voting that allows members of Congress to vote when they are not actually in the Capitol.  The U.S. House of Representatives has become accustomed to the convenience of proxy voting, even as pandemic has waned.  Establishing long-term proxy voting like Democrat leaders in Congress are considering, is no small institutional change. Serving in Congress is a public good, and short of a family emergency, there are not many excuses for failing to show up and vote. Further, it is better for Americans to have a quorum present to prevent leadership from ramming through bills without debate or amendment. Remember, establishing a quorum is essential for the Oregon Legislature to pass bills. Why should it be any different for Congress?

Questions about earmarks and proxy voting are essential to understand how seriously Oregon congressional candidates view accountability in voting and about accountability spending taxpayer dollars.

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