Amid all the media analysis of which political party won in the earmark agreement on appropriations bills, let’s not lose sight of who are the real winners: the American taxpayers.

When we established the rule last year exposing earmark requests to the light of day, it was motivated by a belief that if the requests can’t stand up to scrutiny, they don’t deserve one cent of the taxpayers’ money.  As has been said before, sunshine is the best disinfectant.  By showing what is being requested -- and who is requesting it -- before the bill is voted on, Members have a chance to weed out those requests that don’t pass the waste test.

The American taxpayer deserves to know how his or her money is being spent.  Earmarks in and of themselves aren’t the problem -- I’m proud of the times I’ve been able to help a town in my district with a much-needed project.

But by pulling the curtain and shutting out sunlight on earmark requests -- as the Democratic majority was in the midst of doing -- Congress invites waste and potential scandal when it comes to earmark requests.  By reinstating the reforms Congress adopted last year, it was not just a victory for a political party; it was a victory for everyone who pays taxes.