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 AmashDozens of GOP lawmakers staying away from Trump's convention House uprising thwarts change to Patriot Act GOP angst grows over Trump MORE (R-Mich.), Kevin BradyKevin BradyFroman: Too early to start trade talks with the UK Advisers: Trump's revised tax plan will resemble Ryan's Overnight Healthcare: Health mergers in trouble? | Norovirus in Cleveland | GOP chairman rejects Trump Medicare pricing plan MORE (R-Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzIRS chief blasts impeachment push in Chaffetz's home state Overnight Energy: Volkswagen faces another emissions lawsuit Fast and Furious: Are you listening Congress? MORE (R-Utah) and David McKinleyDavid McKinleyWho – truly – could be against saving Americans billion? Coal Country’s top lawyer takes on Obama’s EPA Coal country rages against fall 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."