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Senator Mark Udall's statement on earmarks

"Coloradans know full well that the way Washington spends money is broken. Out-of-control spending has caused us to rack up huge deficits, which now threaten our future economic prosperity and our national security. The American people want us to show them that we're serious about taking action to solve this problem.

"I've said for some time that we need to have an adult conversation about how we're going to reduce the national debt. And a critical part of that conversation must include steps to reduce spending. I've pushed for line-item veto authority, pay-as-you-go spending, and a reform of the earmark process, among other measures, to accomplish that.

"But ultimately, controlling our spending is going to take restraint from all of us. Colorado families have been tightening their belts throughout this economic downturn - so should Congress. And that's why today, I'm calling for an end to the wasteful and influence-laden process of earmarking.

"Last year, Congress spent roughly $16 billion on earmarks, according to government watchdogs. While that's a small part of the budget, we've become so focused on pet projects, that holding government accountable and being good stewards of the public dollar seem to be an afterthought. In fact, lawmakers are so afraid of losing earmarked funding that they're sometimes pressured into supporting a vicious cycle of increased spending.

"The only way we can reform the status quo is if everyone takes responsibility for the problem. Not only will I not request earmarks, I'm going to work to end the process so that Congress can focus on what Americans want most - a secure economic future."

By Greg Sargent  | November 15, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
 
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