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Over the past several years, the federal government has increased spending at an alarming rate. Bailouts of the financial industry and some auto manufacturers were followed by a $1 trillion stimulus bill that has since become the baseline for government spending, rather than the brief, targeted spending it was meant to be. I voted against these measures, but they passed and added trillions of dollars to the nation’s ballooning debt.

The country is facing a $14 trillion deficit, which breaks down to over $45,000 for every person in Wyoming and the rest of the country. That is what we are facing today – the budget forecast for the future is troubling if we make changes now and dire if we do not. And with Americans across the country tightening their belts, it is time for the federal government to do the same. One way to start saving money is to end requesting annually appropriated dollars for projects through the practice of earmarks.

In November 2010, I supported a measure to institute an earmark moratorium for the 112th Congress that started on January 4, 2011. The amendment did not pass, but our situation is so dire I will not be requesting any funding for specific projects this year.

Getting the country back on track to fiscal responsibility will require tough choices and sacrifices from everyone. Cutting earmarks is a good step toward those more difficult choices and gets the conversation started. If you have any questions about earmarks, appropriations or legislation on spending under consideration in the Senate, feel free to contact my office at (202) 224-3424 or contact me by e-mail on the web form available on this site.

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Six months in the Senate majority

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