They believe that if members of Congress could be in charge of directing funding to their districts, they will be much more invested in the entire process.
Their proposal would limit earmarks to local entities like water authorities and police departments, not private companies, and that they would function like grant proposals. And if local officials abused the system, federal investigators would be empowered to claw back the funds.
A decision for $10 million here or $20 million there might not sound big, in a government that spends more than $3 trillion a year, but for the vast majority of lawmakers, they would be delivering for their constituents in ways they cannot currently imagine.
Kilmer and Graves took the same approach to staff salaries, which have languished for more than a decade even as Washington’s cost of living has skyrocketed, making the allure of K Street all the more attractive.