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Fifteen minutes after the top of the hour with the nation's debt now fifteen trillion dollars and counting.
New congressional record show that members of both the house and the -- are still trying to pack their bills.
With pork those pet projects for their home communities they're asking for millions of dollars in earmarks.
For their constituents well this comes despite the fact that they agreed to a two year moratorium on the practice just last year.
Joining me now to lawmakers trying to ban earmarks.
-- Missouri senator Claire McCaskill and Pennsylvania senator pat -- good morning to senators.
Warning that I have to say.
-- I'm gonna be optimistic again about the fact that there's a bipartisan effort here I thought after the super committee.
That maybe we would never see Republicans and Democrats coming back for anything that senator McCaskill the -- -- your together to do what.
We want to make sure that this is not just a political talking point that we're gonna not do earmarks we want to put it into the law.
We want to make sure there's an enforcement mechanism because as you mentioned Gretchen we've already seen members after say one thing and do another when it comes to earmarks.
Well you speaking maybe about Betty Sutton Democrat from Ohio who tried to add 33 million for corrosion protection projects.
Not sure exactly what that is -- also on the other side of the fence congressman Duncan Hunter Republican from California added five million.
For night vision advanced.
Technology senator to -- is it's -- kind of stuff you're talking about.
It sounds like it you know I think it's just really important that we change the culture of congress the culture has historically -- let's see how much money we can spend.
Well when you're running one point three trillion dollar deficits and you've got a fifteen trillion dollar debt.
It's time to develop a culture that says how much can we saved some -- and I'm delighted to be worked with senator McCaskill.
It's interesting senator McCaskill because you made -- -- pledge when you came into the senate along with a handful of other senators that you would never take an earmark.
And I find that fascinating because one of the reasons that politicians do it.
Is because they think that it helps them in their reelection efforts to bring things home to their people right.
Well I didn't really campaign against earmarks when I got here Gretchen and I saw the process I said this is you know I was a government auditor -- that this is wrong.
I am not get -- play this game when you go on the back room and sprinkle fairy dust in all of a sudden.
You get all this money for your district and it's not done fairly it's not done transparently it's not done on merit.
And people told me I'd be politically dead if I didn't take -- -- that I think you know the feeling missourians.
Will appreciate this attitude more than they appreciate the -- Very interesting senator to me.
The critics will say that only 1% of discretionary spending.
Turns up in earmarks so it really doesn't make that big of a difference against -- fifteen trillion dollar debt your response.
Well makes a huge difference you know in 2010 it was 36 billion dollars in earmarks.
And what's more important in my mind is as I said changing the culture.
And realizing that earmarks have historically served as Greece on the skids of big bloated spending bills.
It's a way to buy votes for spending that we can't afford OK you know you gotta start somewhere as a good place.
-- senator to me before I let you go a super committee failed as we all know a couple weeks ago but now the Republicans on that super committee.
We're getting together again yesterday and the day before what can you tell us.
-- we got together to say a big thank you to our staff that worked really really hard that -- -- very best.
And I'm afraid it's nothing more exciting than the fact that we wanted to say thanks the people who put in a lot of work.
Our -- there's there's many of us still working on this side -- -- part of it.
We are working in a bipartisan way we know we need to go big and look at our debt structure and many of us are working at every single day.
All right well that's good to hear and I started out by San bipartisanship may be alive again with the TV -- an -- Maybe we can tackle the debt together as well senators have a great day.
Thanks -- Merry Christmas Merry Christmas to you.
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