Sen. Lee, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Permanently Ban Earmarks

March 1, 2021

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) today joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), along with several of their colleagues, to introduce legislation to permanently ban earmarks. This follows a partisan agreement between Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro to bring the practice back to Congress.

“Banning earmarks in 2011 was the first step in reforming Congress’s dysfunctional budget process. Much more work needs to be done, but backsliding into the corrupt and corrupting earmarks racket should not be an option,” Sen. Lee said.

Earmarks do nothing but add to the toxic, swampy culture that DC's known for," Sen. Daines said. "These back-room deals promote pay-for-play behavior that make lobbyists rich on the taxpayer’s dime. It’s time we get rid of earmarks once and for all.”

Earmarks are a way to direct discretionary funds to specific recipients without going through a merit-based or competitive allocation process. In 2019, a Republican controlled Senate banned earmarks. 

Other cosponsors of the bill include Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

 The full text of the bill can be found here.