Earmark opponents fight against new pork

April 15, 2008 at 3:45 PM

WASHINGTON, April 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says his push for local projects is consistent with his being a member of a lawmakers' group formed to end earmarks.

"If a bridge is half-completed, obviously, we cannot pull a plug on that," Burr spokesman Chris Walker told The Hill.

A strategic approach to the group's pledge to end pork-barrel projects has allowed some of the 17 members of the bicameral GOP Reagan21 Caucus to seek funding requests for their home states while pushing for earmark reform in Washington, The Hill said.

The caucus' policy statement forbids "new earmarks, but allows funding request for projects already approved."

Burr sponsored more than $116 million of earmarked funding by himself or with other lawmakers last year, data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group, indicated.

Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Tom Price, R-Ga., said caucus members were concerned about long-term projects commitments, such as Army Corps of Engineers projects, when the policy language was developed.

"The group decided the language that was most reflective of what we as a group were promoting was 'no new earmarks,' " Price said.

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