Senator Claire McCaskill is the senior United States Senator from Missouri. This is her November 18, 2016 email newsletter. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we post these communications from your elected representatives please click here.
Yesterday, just days after Donald Trump was elected with a promise to “drain the swamp,” Republican leadership in the U.S. House held a closed-door meeting to try to bring back congressional earmarks.
Earmarks—provisions that send your tax dollars to Washington for politicians’ pet projects—were temporarily banned in 2011 after I worked with colleagues in both parties to stop them. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and I are still working today to pass our bipartisan Earmark Elimination Act, which would make that ban permanent.
That’s why I called on House Leadership and our Missouri delegation to reject yesterday’s vote. And while I was glad to see Speaker Ryan step up at the last minute to stop the vote, that earmark ban was almost overturned. Behind closed doors. Without any public debate. This fight isn’t over. The Speaker has promised to revisit the issue early next year but I can’t for the life of me figure out why they thought it was a good idea to begin with.
Congress is a more accountable and transparent institution for having gotten rid of earmarks—and the U.S. House leadership’s attempt yesterday to bring them back without public discussion or a vote is unacceptable.
I have made rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse a cornerstone of my work in the Senate, and I’m not giving up now.