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March 5, 2008
Contact: OMB Communications, 202-395-7254

Nussle Calls Rejection of Earmark Moratorium a “Missed Opportunity”

Washington, DC — Today, the House Budget Committee rejected an amendment that would have further advanced earmark reform.

An amendment imposing a one year moratorium on earmarks was rejected by a party line vote of 16-21. This amendment was offered by U.S. Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and John Campbell (R-CA), and included provisions of the Kingston-Wolf bill that would create a bipartisan select committee to make recommendations on how to reform the earmark process.

"The failure of this amendment signals that Democrats support business as usual in Washington," said OMB Director Jim Nussle.  “It is a missed opportunity.”

"We applaud the sponsors and supporters of this amendment for their efforts to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely or not at all," Nussle added.

Earmarks are congressional directives for projects or programs that circumven a merit-based or competitive process. The President has actively promoted reforms to bring greater transparency to the process by which spending decisions are made.

In January, the President issued an Executive Order that directs agencies to ignore future earmarks that are included in report language and not subject to a vote by Congress.  And in his State of the Union, the President pledged to veto any FY 2009 appropriations bill that does not reduce the number and cost of earmarks in half from its FY 2008 level.