Alexander Statement on Earmark Amendment

Posted on March 16, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following statement on his vote against Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) amendment that would have required 67 votes to pass specific appropriations offered by a United States senator for fiscal years 2010 or 2011.
“When Tennesseans come to see me about keeping Chickamauga Lock open, or making Center Hill Dam safe, or improving military housing at Fort Campbell, my job is not to give them President Obama’s telephone number. I have the constitutional responsibility to try to amend the president’s budget. Some members of Congress have abused the appropriations process. But if you have a couple of bad acts on the Grand Ole Opry, you don’t cancel the Opry – you cancel the acts. That’s why two years ago I voted for a one-year moratorium on earmarks. Since then, Congress has made reforms. I’m ready to make more if they are needed.  

“It’s also important to point out that removing earmarks doesn’t reduce the federal debt by one penny, since they are paid for by reducing spending for lower-priority items.

“The way to reduce the debt is to slow down automatic increases in entitlement spending and to limit discretionary spending to 2 percent growth each year.”