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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Congress has also had some success in stopping certain agencies from spending money on structures named after current members. In 2008, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) was able to attach language to a 2009 Veterans-Military Construction spending bill that banned these vanity earmarks.

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 AmashRepublicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Kids shouldn't be charged as sex offenders Dem: Disrespect for rule of law by Trump administration 'off the charts' MORE (R-Mich.), Kevin BradyKevin BradyHouse chairman calls on Senate to redo Russia sanctions bill before recess GOP chairman: More tax-reform hearings coming in July Overnight Finance: CBO finds 22M more uninsured under Senate health bill | GOP agrees ObamaCare taxes must go | Supreme Court to look at Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections | More tax reform hearings | Green light for partial travel ban | MORE (R-Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzChaffetz: Money 'partly' responsible for decision to leave Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report Chaffetz to join Fox News as a contributor MORE (R-Utah) and David McKinleyDavid McKinleyDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare Overnight Energy: Democrats take on key Trump Interior nominee Manchin gets a GOP challenger 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."