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Monday, December 21, 2009

$4 Billion More in Earmarks

Remember that?

President Obama again broke that pledge today by signing a defense appropriations bill chock full of pet projects and pork barrel spending, much of which has nothing to do with national defense.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
But the earmarks in the defense-spending bill could point to a longer-term clash between lawmakers and Mr. Obama, who campaigned on a pledge of changing the way Congress allocates earmarks. Mr. Obama has said that earmarks can be a waste of government funds and wants more public information about how they are awarded by Congress.

Member of Congress in both parties defend the use of earmarks and say that they are often for worthy projects.

Among the earmarks in the Defense bill: $18.9 million for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.); a $23 million item for the Hawaii Healthcare Network, sponsored by Senate appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii); a $20 million appropriation for the National World War II museum in New Orleans, by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana; and $5 million for a Heritage Center at San Francisco's historic Presidio, an item included by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her "community funding requests." ...

As usual, many of the top recipients of earmarks in the defense bill were high-ranking appropriators: Mr. Inouye got 37 earmarks totaling $198.2 million, while ranking Republican Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) got 45 totaling $167 million. Mr. Inouye also is chairman of the defense subcommittee, and Mr. Cochran is the ranking member.

On the House side, defense subcommittee chairman John Murtha (D., Pa.) sponsored 23 earmarks totaling $76.5 million, while ranking Republican C.W. "Bill" Young got 36 totaling $83.7 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Line by line, huh? Maybe next year, but not holding our breath.

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