Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney Pitch to Conference: Let’s Take Back Control of Army Corps Funds

Sep 14, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) spoke today in front of the House Rules Committee and the Republican Conference to discuss his proposal to change the House Rules for the 115th Congress. Rooney’s proposal, introduced as H.Res.813, would amend the House Rules to exclude existing or proposed water resource development projects of the Army Corps of Engineers from the definition of a Congressional earmark. Congressionally-directed spending, better known as earmarking, has been banned in Congress since 2011.

“We had good intentions of reforming the system and reining in spending when we enacted the ban five years ago. After working in this system, I’ve realized that this ban hasn’t saved us money or solved our debt problems, rather it’s given the Administration more power over these funding decisions”, Rooney said. “Almost every Member of Congress has experienced the direct correlation between the earmark ban and our inability to influence control over the executive branch. This is especially frustrating when it comes to securing funding for important Army Corps projects in our districts.”

Rooney’s proposal is a simple first step to limit executive branch power and to restore Congress’ constitutional authority to direct funds to important flood control, dam safety and water infrastructure projects funded by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Rooney wants to change the House Rules so that funding for specific Army Corps projects is no longer considered an earmark. In his district alone, he could immediately help limit Manasota Key beach erosion and expedite desperately-needed repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike. Nearly every member of Congress has Army Corps projects in their districts that likely face these same funding problems. 

“The House needs to update its’ view on earmarks and take this small step to allow members to truly advocate on behalf of their districts by giving us back the power of the purse,” Rooney said. “We’ve ceded what James Madison regarded as our ‘most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.’ Let’s take it back.”

Here you can see a video of Rooney’s opening statement and full testimony.