Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a fiscal watchdog, but he placed more earmarks in the recently passed $410 billion spending bill than any other Republican, inserting $73 million into the measure — which he then voted against.
Paul, who sought the Republican presidential nomination last year, acknowledged in an interview with Fox News that the $73 million “might be” going to his Gulf Coast district in Texas for things like the Intracoastal Waterway and the Texas City channel.
“The principle of the earmark is our responsibility,” he said.
“It’s like a tax credit. And I vote for all tax credits, no matter how silly they might seem. If I can give you any of your money back, I vote for it. So if I can give my district any money back, I encourage that…
“If they’re going to allot the money, I have a responsibility to represent my people. If they say, hey, put in a highway for the district, I put it in.”
Paul, who also ran for president as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988, voted against the spending bill because he believes federal spending should be drastically reduced.
“Because the budget is out of control, I haven’t voted for an appropriation in years — if ever,” he told Fox.
Paul said doing away with earmarks would enable the executive branch to gain power over the legislative branch, the Los Angeles Times reported.
If Congress votes against an earmark, the administration gets to allocate the funds, he explained.
“If you vote against all the earmarks, you don’t save one penny … We’re talking about who has the responsibility, the Congress or the executive branch.”
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