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U.S. National Debt:

Crapo, Work Group Recommend Earmark Reforms

More transparency, oversight and budget savings sought in spending plans

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and fellow members of the Fiscal Reform Working Group today proposed greater transparency and accountability regarding earmarks and directing savings from earmark cuts toward reducing the federal debt. Crapo was appointed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to help lead efforts on earmark reform. Crapo and fellow task force members made their recommendations public during a news conference in Washington, DC. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) is Chairman of the Fiscal Reform Working Group. Plans to address debt reduction in the recommendations mirror legislation Crapo originally proposed as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives that became known as his "lock-box" legislation.

"If followed, these recommendations will help improve public awareness and accountability, while permitting Congress to put the savings from eliminating inappropriate programs toward reducing the national debt," Crapo said. "Our Working Group was unanimous in seeking greater transparency in the congressional spending process, including shedding more light on the earmarks of Congress and the Executive Branch."

The recommendations made today apply to appropriations, authorization and tax legislation. They come in three main categories: deficit reduction, increased transparency and accountability, and increased congressional oversight of executive branch earmarks. Some of the changes would place earmarks within the main text of bills, not in report language. Requests must be made public at least 48 hours before floor consideration and successful earmarks would be noted on the websites, as is now the case with Crapo's website at

Crapo's colleagues on the Fiscal Reform Working Group include Senators Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia). The recommendations now go to the Senate Republican Conference for its consideration.