Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's efforts to reform earmarks is well documented, both by this blog and by the mainstream media. She's lead the effort to make the process more transparent, and she has already voted for the most significant reforms to the process in a generation.
The earmark system was corrupt, unaccountable, and in desperate need of reform.Boyda provides her constituents with a list of every earmark request her office has made so they can see for themselves what kind of priorities she has for their money. That groundbreaking step is excellent progress in itself, but significantly more needs to be done...if only because something as simple as making the list of earmark requests public isn't required, it's obvious the process is still in desperate need of reform. (To date Sens. Sam Brownback & Pat Roberts, along with Reps. Todd Tiahrt & Jerry Moran have not followed Boyda's lead, just an FYI).
In principle, earmarks allow Members of Congress to devote funds to projects that are important to their district – and representatives can better judge their districts’ needs than some bureaucrat on the fourth floor of a Washington office building. I want to make sure that Kansas taxpayers are getting their fair share of funds returning to Kansas projects – research at our universities, investment in our infrastructure and growth at our military bases.
In January of last year, the House of Representatives passed rules requiring every earmark enacted into law to include the name of its sponsor. What's more, representatives must now sign a sworn declaration that they have no financial stake in their earmarks.
Under these new, more transparent rules, the total cost of earmarks in the 2008 federal budget dropped by 42% – the first decline in a decade.
So, with that further need for reform in mind, Congresswoman Boyda and eight other Democrats joined with members of the minority party in support of a moratorium on earmarks- until further reforms can be put into place.
This is the second time (we believe, it might have been more) Congresswoman Boyda has joined the call for a moratorium on earmarks, and for a second time members of both parties prevented it from occurring.
Most earmarks aren't pork, and most earmarks are necessary projects, but we agree the process needs to be as open and as transparent as possible. Congresswoman Boyda's effort are commendable, and exactly what her district expects from their Member of Congress.