Restoring the power of the purse: Earmarks and re-empowering legislators to deliver local benefits

However well-intentioned, the earmark moratorium has had real shortcomings. As various observers
have noted, forbidding earmarks has shifted spending authority to the executive branch agencies, which are not directly accountable to the public. The moratorium also has not reduced federal spending, as some advocates anticipated. Troublingly, the earmark moratorium encouraged legislators to attempt to direct spending through the less-transparent practice of lettermarking. Perhaps most critically, this report’s analysis shows how the earmark moratorium weakened
the House of Representatives’ capacity to coalesce majorities to enact legislation, a constitutional duty of the chamber….(Read more)

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