Rep. Ralph Norman reintroduced a bill Wednesday aimed at stopping a form of federal spending known as earmarks.  

“I’ve always said that earmarks are evil,” Norman, R-N.C. told The Daily Signal. “They are sneaky in the way that they get tacked onto big, important spending packages to be automatically passed by the ‘uniparty’ with the hope that no one looks into the details.” 

Lawmakers use earmarks, often referred to as “pork,” to receive funding for projects in their districts. Earmarks are often inserted into large spending bills where they are likely to largely go unnoticed. A congressional earmark dedicates federal funds for a specific purpose, such as the construction of a bridge, the restoration of a city landmark, or a local program.  

“Basically, an earmark is taxpayer funding for a personalized pet project for a particular district or special interest group,” Norman said.  

The six-page bill he reintroduced Wednesday prohibits Congress from considering legislation that contains earmarks, thus banning the practice.  

Norman introduced the bill, known as the Earmark Elimination Act, twice before, and most recently in February 2021.  

Five Republican lawmakers are currently co-sponsoring the bill, including Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin, Tom McClintock of California, and Andy Ogles of Tennessee. 

Earmarks have long been debated and were even temporarily banned in Congress from 2011 to 2021. Among the most notorious congressional earmark schemes was in 2005 when two lawmakers from Alaska earmarked $223 million to build a bridge from Ketchikan to the island of Gravina, which at the time had a population of about 50 people. The project was nicknamed the “Bridge to Nowhere.”  

“Attaching earmarks to large spending packages doesn’t allow for public discussion,” Norman criticized. “Congress, with the power of the purse, should be primarily looking out for the people’s tax dollars and getting federal spending down as soon as possible.” 

Bloomberg Government reports that among the federal government’s 2024 spending bills, Republican and Democrat lawmakers inserted 8,099 earmarks accounting for $14.6 billion.  

“To me, this is the most wasteful, abusive way to use hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” Norman said.