WASHINGTON — Mississippi’s GOP senators, prolific users of earmarks, will not be going along with the House Republicans’ one-year moratorium on directed federal spending.

“I do not agree with the efforts in the House to impose an earmark moratorium,” said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Earmarks are not about how much the government spends, but about who decides how appropriated funds are used. The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to decide how to allocate federal funds.”

Similarly, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, who was a member of the House Appropriations Committee before moving to the Senate, defended the use of earmarks.

“I support shrinking the size of the federal budget,” Wicker said. “But once spending levels are determined, elected officials who are accountable to the public should be able to direct spending to projects with the most need and potential for economic impact. The alternative is to leave those decisions to bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., who are unaccountable to no one and know very little about local needs in communities across the country.”

Sun Herald
3/14/10