Share this article

print logo

Gillibrand bill targets 'earmarks'

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand -- the first U.S. lawmaker to post her pork-barrel spending requests online -- now wants to extend the same level of transparency to her colleagues.

Gillibrand announced Tuesday that she's proposing legislation that would create an easily searchable database for pork-barrel spending requests. That's one of several proposals the New York Democrat made in what she billed as her reform agenda.

She joined two Republicans -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma -- in proposing the bill shedding more light on such "earmarks." In addition, Gillibrand:

*Announced that she is backing legislation that would vastly increase disclosure of campaign expenditures in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that opens the door to wider corporate funding of campaigns.

*Joined with 67 of her Senate colleagues in proposing a ban on anonymous "holds" that allow any senator to block any piece of legislation at any time.

*Said she wants to eliminate the annual automatic pay raise that members of Congress currently get.

"I haven't been in Washington long, but it doesn't take long to know exactly what's wrong with it," Gillibrand said. "Everyday people are not being heard because too much business is happening behind closed doors."

Gillibrand has long been an advocate of a more open government. In addition to putting her government spending requests online, she was also the first lawmaker to make her schedule public.

e-mail: jzremski@buffnews.com