House Votes to Rescind Unobligated Funding for Earmarks; Hold Government Accountable

Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) supported and the House passed H.R. 5730, the Surface Transportation Earmark Rescission, Savings and Accountability Act, to rescind more than $700 million in unobligated funding for 309 earmarks contained in previous surface transportation authorizations.  The legislation will also clear the books of the projects to ensure the funding cannot be used to increase spending in the future. 

“Many of these unobligated balances are tied to projects that are no longer viable or have not received the necessary matching funds from state or local entities; or are projects that have been completed yet still contain funding balances that are no longer needed for the designated project,” Rep. Schiff said.  “By eliminating excess funds that have remained unused by states for nearly 20 years, this legislation builds upon ongoing efforts to efficiently and effectively manage taxpayer dollars.”

Other steps to restore fiscal responsibility have included:

  • Statutory PAYGO (PL 111-139), requiring Congress to offset the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with savings elsewhere in the budget. If the net effect of all legislation enacted during a session of Congress increased the deficit, there would be an across-the-board reduction in certain mandatory programs. 
  • Provisions going after waste, fraud and abuse – such as cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The FY 2011 budget, which sets a limit on discretionary spending ($7 billion below the President’s budget and $3 billion below the Senate resolution).  
  • The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act to go after improper federal payments that cost taxpayers an estimated $98 billion in FY 2009. 
  • The IMPROVE Acquisition Act, saving taxpayers an estimated $27 billion a year by cleaning up defense acquisition spending.
  • The Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act that will cut government waste by shining light on ineffective programs.
  • The Surface Transportation Savings Act, rescinding $107 million in unspent contract authority – thereby ensuring that these funds will not be used to increase spending in the future.