FACT CHECK: Donnelly Supports Earmark Reform

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Donnelly Supported Earmark Reform. In 2007, Donnelly voted in favor of new House rules to reform the process of creating “earmarks” in legislation. The rule required legislation and conference reports to be accompanied by a list of earmarks and limited tax or trade benefits, and their sponsors. Members would have to provide information about the recipient and purpose of an earmark. It also created new budget points of order, including pay-as-you-go rules which would require offsets to any new entitlement spending or tax cuts. [H Res 6, Vote #9, 1/05/07]

Donnelly Opposed Funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere”
In March 2011, Donnelly voted in favor of a measure that would have prevented funding for the notorious Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere.” The motion to recommit would have rescinded $183 million in funding for planning, design and construction of the Gravina Island and Knik Arm bridges in Alaska. The motion specifically rescinded all unobligated balances provided for the planning or construction of the both bridges. Rep. Jared Polis, who introduced the measure, noted that a CBO study estimated that the motion would reduce the deficit by $160 million. [HR 662, Vote #159, 3/02/11]

Supported Effort to Rescind Unused Earmark Funds.
In February 2011, a USA Today investigation found billions of taxpayer dollars earmarked by members of Congress for their local districts over the previous two decades that - for one reason or another - just didn’t get used. The funding has become known as an orphan earmark. USA Today reported that more than $7.5 billion in orphan earmarks over the last two decades remains unspent.  Donnelly said he voted for a bill in 2010 that would have rescinded millions in orphan earmark funding. “I voted in July 2010 to rescind more than $700 million in unused transportation funding because taxpayer dollars should not be left in limbo. These dollars should either be returned to the Treasury or redirected to critical infrastructure projects,” Donnelly said. [HR5730, Vote #471, 7/27/10; South Bend Tribune, 2/16/11; Kokomo Tribune, 11/04/10]

Voted to Remove Earmarks from Intelligence Authorization Bill.
In 2007, Donnelly voted in favor of a motion to instruct House conferees to eliminate any House or Senate provisions providing for earmarks and insist on provisions authorizing the maximum level of funding permissible for human intelligence collection activities. [HR 2082, Vote #1125, 12/04/07]




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