Bush signs executive order on earmarks

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush [JURIST news archive] signed an executive order Tuesday implementing promises on earmarks made in his final State of the Union address [text; JURIST report] delivered Monday. Executive Order 13457 [text; fact sheet] commands heads of federal agencies to take "all necessary steps" to ignore earmarks that are not explicitly written into law. The policy portion of the order reads:

To ensure the proper use of taxpayer funds that are appropriated for Government programs and purposes, it is necessary that the number and cost of earmarks be reduced, that their origin and purposes be transparent, and that they be included in the text of the bills voted upon by the Congress and presented to the President. For appropriations laws and other legislation enacted after the date of this order, executive agencies should not commit, obligate, or expend funds on the basis of earmarks included in any non-statutory source, including requests in reports of committees of the Congress or other congressional documents, or communications from or on behalf of Members of Congress, or any other non-statutory source, except when required by law or when an agency has itself determined a project, program, activity, grant, or other transaction to have merit under statutory criteria or other merit-based decisionmaking.
Bush further explained his rationale in remarks [transcript] he made when signing the order:
there's a practice here in Washington, and I'm not sure many of our citizens understand it takes place, where members just put in special spending projects into what's called report language. That means that these projects never were voted on, never really saw the light of day. And this executive order says that any such earmarks this year and into the future will be ignored by this administration and, hopefully, future administrations, unless those spending projects were voted on by the Congress.
The executive order will not have an impact until Congress advances new legislation throughout the spring and summer. Some conservatives had hoped that Bush would kill thousands of earmarks contained in last year's omnibus appropriations bill. AP has more.

 

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