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 AmashFreedom Caucus, Trump reach 'agreement in principle' on ObamaCare repeal bill Defying Trump, Freedom Caucus insists it'll oppose GOP ObamaCare replacement Trump, GOP struggle to find healthcare votes MORE (R-Mich.), Kevin BradyKevin BradyObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote Mellman: Red in the face? Overnight Finance: White House backs off stock market boasts as Dow, Nasdaq drop | Trump budget shifts costs to rural voters who elected him | Fight over CEO pay rule heats up MORE (R-Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team House Oversight grills law enforcement on facial recognition tech Oversight committee asks White House, FBI for Flynn records MORE (R-Utah) and David McKinleyDavid McKinleyThe Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House Overnight Regulation: Republicans put Obama coal rule on chopping block 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."