The year I arrived in the Senate, 2009, I took a stand against earmarks. I believed then, as I do now, that the earmark process lacks openness and transparency.
This provision slipped into the highway bill on page 463 is a perfect example of the abuse of allocating tax dollars, which led to the Senate earmark moratorium and the president’s pledge to veto them.
Because of this pledge, the earmark should be stripped to give the bill a fighting chance of becoming law. It is simply unacceptable to use taxpayer dollars as bargaining chips while we’re staring down a fourth-straight year of trillion-dollar deficits and watching our total debt creeping toward $16 trillion.
The federal government is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar spent and should not borrow more to give the state of Nevada a gift no other state will receive.
I will continue pushing to strike this earmark. We owe an earmark-free bill to the American people.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight.