Citizens Against Government Waste has named Senator Carl Levin Porker of the Month.
CAGW Names Senator Carl Levin Porker of the Month
Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) its September Porker of the Month for attempting to give earmarks contained in committee reports the force of law. The provision is included in S. 3001, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009.
Currently, earmarks listed in committee reports do not have the force of law; only those included in the statutory language have that status. Traditionally, members of Congress have included earmarks in committee reports knowing they are not the law, but have expected federal agencies to treat those spending items as if they had the force of law. President Bush issued an Executive Order on January 29, 2008 instructing government agencies not to fund any earmarks contained in report language, or based on any non-statutory source, such as phone calls from members of Congress.
This means that beginning with this fiscal year’s authorization and appropriation bills, agencies would be under no obligation to fund earmarks contained in committee or conference reports. In a brazen attempt to gut the executive order, Sen. Levin inserted a provision (Section 1002) into the defense reauthorization bill that would incorporate the earmarks listed in the committee report into the statute itself, making the earmarks “a requirement in law.” The earmarks would be “binding on agency heads in the same manner and to the same extent” as if they were written into the bill.
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