Many see it as a rightful perk of Congress, although that notion is beginning to be challenged. In 2009, then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) fought with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) over an earmark to spend $1 million on the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center — she was furious when he rejected it.
McCaul's new bill — the No Monuments to Me Act (H.R. 1826) — would permanently prevent federal money from being used to name structures after current members of Congress, or the president. The only exception would be presidential libraries.
"The question is not whether these projects are worthy of taxpayer dollars," McCaul said in a statement to The Hill. "It's a problem of perception that these projects receive special treatment because of the names they bear.
"At a minimum, when the American people see this it feeds the belief that members of Congress are arrogant and out of touch with the people we represent."
McCaul introduced his bill last week with Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP lawmaker on Trump's Lewis tweets: 'Dude, just stop' House passes Mattis waiver, setting up quick confirmation House takes first step to repeal ObamaCare MORE (R-Mich.), Kevin BradyKevin BradyTrump and Mnuchin can turn the page to new tax policy States hope Trump era will reset federal relationship Overnight Healthcare: Takeaways from Price's hearing | Trump scrambles GOP health plans MORE (R-Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzChaffetz says he's 'pleased' Clinton is not president shortly after handshake Why Democrats fear a successful inaugural address from Trump Federal ethics chief resists House GOP call for private interview MORE (R-Utah) and David McKinleyDavid McKinleyW.Va. attorney general may challenge Manchin Overnight Tech: Trump meets Alibaba founder | Uber to make some data public | GOP Lawmakers tapped for key tech panels 10 Senate seats that could flip in 2018 MORE (R-W.Va.).
In late April, Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) introduced his own, similar proposal — H.R. 1689, the Prohibiting Taxpayer-Funded Monuments to Members of Congress. Turner said his bill is an expansion of language he was able to include in the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which stopped the Defense Department from spending money on these earmarks.
"As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to our constituents to be good stewards of tax dollars," Turner said. "Using those funds to glorify and advertise ourselves is a breach of that responsibility, and American taxpayers deserve better."