Last year, freshman Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, was like a political Quixote tilting at fiscal windmills, trying to strengthen earmark rules in the House. Pork-barrel spending doesn't require lawmakers to attach their names to budget inserts, but Cassidy pushed a bill last May to change that. Not surprisingly, his idea was shot down. Then, last month, President Barack Obama got behind the idea in his first State of the Union speech. Obama demanded that Congress "publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there's a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent."
Cassidy says that breathes new life into his proposed legislation, which is co-authored by Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. "Earmark reform isn't a partisan crusade; it's a necessary step to restore confidence in government. Putting all earmark requests in a searchable online database will help give the American people, the press and Congressional watchdog groups the tools they need to hold Congress accountable," Cassidy says, adding, "Mr. President, welcome aboard." — Jeremy Alford