Sen. Rick Scott Leads Anti-Earmarks Resolution

March 7, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott led the introduction of a resolution in the U.S. Senate slamming Congress’ obsession with reckless earmarks. Joining Senator Scott in fighting against this reckless government spending are Senators Ron Johnson, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, John Barrasso, Mike Lee, Josh Hawley, Rand Paul and Steve Daines. Additionally, this resolution has been endorsed by Heritage Action.


The minibus spending bill being considered by the Senate contains more than 6,600 earmarks detailed over 605 pages which include:

  • $1 million for an environmental justice center in New York City;
  • $3.5 million for a Thanksgiving parade in Michigan; and
  • $1 million for a social justice center in San Francisco to make building improvements.


Senator Rick Scott said, “Earmarks are Washington’s corrupt way to recklessly spend taxpayer money with zero scrutiny and must be stopped. While the federal government’s debt nears $35 trillion and inflation has skyrocketed 18% under Joe Biden, the minibus spending bill has more than 6,600 projects that will cost taxpayers $12 BILLION. This clearly isn’t about funding the government, it’s about funding pet projects for politicians like Chuck Schumer. Floridians have no interest in funding Schumer’s wish list. We must end this wasteful political corruption that Washington calls earmarks.”


Senator Ron Johnson said, “Earmarks are the gateway drug to more massive deficit spending. Even some Republicans joined with Democrats to contribute billions in earmarks to this bill, despite claiming to value fiscal responsibility. America cannot afford a wish list upwards of $12 billion that further mortgages our children’s futures and masquerades as responsible spending.”


Senator Mike Braun said, “The American people should not be forced to pay for political pet projects. There are over 6,000 earmarks in this inflation bomb spending bill. Cut them all.”


Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “The Washington swamp uses earmarks to push lobbyist pet projects and continue a pattern of wasteful spending that only hurts Main Street businesses and hardworking families. Tennessee taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for a social justice organization in Northern California, an education campaign to protect monk seals in Hawaii, or an environmental justice center in New York. This is a reckless waste of taxpayer dollars that will only exacerbate our national debt.”


Senator Mike Lee said, “Washington's penchant for playing puppeteer with taxpayer dollars must end. Earmarks corrupt government processes, eroding the trust between the governed and those entrusted to govern. The American people have made it abundantly clear: they have no appetite for such wasteful spending. Senator Scott's resolution is pivotal to reasserting our conference's commitment to banning earmarks. Failure to act is not just against our principles but a betrayal to the next generation of Americans who will bear the burden of our fiscal irresponsibility.”


Senator Rand Paul said, “Washington has a spending problem and forcing the taxpayers to pay for over $12 billion worth of earmarks is no way to return to a path of fiscal sanity. We must put a stop to government waste and return to being good stewards of American tax dollars.”


Senator Steve Daines said, “Earmarks represent the worst of Congress, slimy backroom deals that make lobbyists rich on the taxpayer’s dime. Washington must reject these toxic deals and return to fiscal sanity.”


Heritage Action Executive Vice President Ryan Walker said, “Often made in backroom deals with no regard for fiscal responsibility, earmarks represent exactly what is wrong with Washington. Most American families live paycheck-to-paycheck while members of Congress treat the budget like a limitless credit card, spending on pet projects that are often out-of-touch with hardworking Americans. Heritage Action applauds Sen. Scott for exposing earmarks and pushing his colleagues to spend responsibly and get our economy back on track.”


Read the text of the resolution HERE or below.



Expressing opposition to congressional spending on earmarks.


Whereas fiscal year 2022 marked the return of “congressionally directed spending” and “community project funding”, also known as “earmarks”, after a 12-year hiatus;


Whereas the return of earmarks marked the return of lawmakers using their powers to circumvent the rules of the Senate in order to direct taxpayer dollars to wasteful projects;


Whereas, while Congress has the power of the purse, it must be prescriptive and effective in funding programs, projects, and activities of the Federal Government, which is now more than $34,000,000,0000,0000 in debt, rather than focus on funding earmarks that are wasteful in nature;


Whereas the 118th Congress has reinstituted and embraced the wasteful practice of earmarking, as shown by the more than 5,000 requests for earmarks in the House of Representatives and the more than 19,000 requests for earmarks in the Senate for fiscal year 2024;


Whereas Congress has already dramatically increased earmarking since its return, increasing from $9,000,000,000 for 4,970 earmarks passed in fiscal year 2022 to $15,300,000,000 for 7,234 earmarks passed in fiscal year 2023;


Whereas the reckless, 1,653 page, $1,700,000,000,000 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Public Law 117–328) enacted in December 2022, appropriated billions of dollars to earmarks even though the United States is more than $34,000,000,000,000 in debt and experiencing the highest level of inflation seen in 40 years;


Whereas the massive, fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending bill included funding for earmarks, including $3,600,000 for the Michelle Obama Trail in Georgia, $2,500,000 for a Chinatown arts building in San Francisco, $7,000,000 to fix staircases in the city of Pittsburgh, $12,000,000 for a pedestrian walkway in Vermont, and $3,000,000 for a theater and event space in Pennsylvania, in addition to other earmark projects such as botanical gardens in California, bike parking in Maryland, streetscaping in Connecticut, and a dance festival in Massachusetts;


Whereas the fiscal year 2024 minibus spending bill released on March 3, 2024, includes 605 pages of earmarks with 6,630 individual projects totaling $12,700,000,000, including $3,500,000 for Michigan’s Thanksgiving Parade Foundation, $1,000,000 for an environmental justice center in New York City, $500,000 for gardens in San Francisco, $4,000,000 for a waterfront walkway in New Jersey, theater and opera house renovations in Georgia and Pennsylvania, and city hall renovations in Washington and Rhode Island;


Whereas former Senator Tom Coburn condemned the use of earmarks as a “gateway drug to overspending” and former Senator John McCain called earmarks “the gateway drug to corruption and overspending in Washington”;


Whereas several former Members of Congress and lobbyists have been convicted of crimes related to earmarking;


Whereas it is crucial that Congress spend taxpayer dollars wisely and with the best return on investment, especially during times of historic inflation and Federal debt levels; and


Whereas Congress must stop this reckless Federal spending and corrupt political dealing, start paying down the debt of the United States, and get the United States back on track: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) condemns the use of “congressionally directed spending” and “community project funding”, known as “earmarks”, to direct and appropriate taxpayer dollars in any form;

(2) reaffirms the previous ban on the use of earmarks and affirms to restore the ban permanently and immediately; and

(3) affirms the need for Congress to reign in overspending to help curb the inflation crisis that is crippling the families of the United States.