This past weekend was Groundhog Day. And just like in the movie, I'm starting to get worried that Congress is going to return to old habits, and we'll be watching the same story play itself out, all over again.
When I arrived in the Senate six years ago, I said no to earmarks, and started the fight to end them.
We've had some success. Slowly but surely, we're changing the culture of Congress to one where members are not judged based on how much taxpayer money they spend, but rather on how much they can save.
Last week, I reintroduced legislation with my Republican colleague Pat Toomey that I know Missourians support: a bill that ends the earmarking practice once and for all.
When rallying support against earmarked spending, I've often found allies across party lines. In 2009, I teamed up with South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint to fight for a moratorium on earmarks. That year I also worked with Senator John McCain to make it easier to remove earmarks from existing legislation. I've also called on my own party's leaders to remove earmarks from Congressional legislation.
All along, my message to my colleagues was simple-when we're talking about investments in America's infrastructure, resources need to be awarded based on merit and competition, not based on who you are and who you know.
But predictably, some in Congress have had a hard time adjusting, and we're starting to hear rumors from some of my colleagues about wanting to return to the old system of earmarking-which is why it's all the more important that we pass this permanent ban.
Missourians didn't send me to the Senate to tackle the easy stuff. They want their elected leaders to work day and night on the tough issues. I've never sought an earmark and I'll stay devoted to permanently ending the earmarking practice until it is completely abolished.