Monday, February 04, 2008

Congressional Pork Fest:The Earmark Favor Factory

Parade Magazine--Last month, Congress passed a 3,500-page omnibus spending bill after less than 24 hours for review. The bill, which mostly renewed funding for existing programs, contained more than 9,000 “earmarks”—worth at least $7.4 billion—for legislators’ pet projects, including:

  • Olive fruit fly research in France: $213,000

  • Center for Grape Genetics in Geneva, N.Y.: $1.9 million

  • Fish-waste research in Alaska: $2.5 million

  • Awning renovations in Roanoke, Va.: $250,000

  • Cormorant control in Vermont, Michigan, Mississippi and New York: $1.2 million
The real problem with earmarks, says Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), is that “they circumvent the normal process,” since they typically are placed in bills without discussion. Thus, lawmakers never get to debate them and find out if they’re genuinely necessary—or just more pork.


See a related WSJ article "MURTHA INC.: How A Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks," about the top Congressional earmarkers (see list above), and the #1 Leader of the Pork, Rep. John Murtha.


At 2/04/2008 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to here for a blog all about earmarks:

Just based on those figures Mark posted, Bill Young and Jerry Lewis should switch their party allegiance to the Democrats.

At 2/04/2008 3:15 PM, Blogger bobble said...

that's a cute list of the demo's pathetic efforts at earmarks.

check here for the for the pork professionals

At 2/04/2008 3:18 PM, Blogger bobble said...

hmmm, that link didn't make it.

try this to see who really generates the pork

At 2/04/2008 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I think is funny is that for four years of President Bush's term in office, we never heard a word from the President about earmarks. The Republican led Congress had the "rubber stamp" from the President on spending bills. When the Democratic party took over, we heard for the first time a word that should have been used many times in the previous four years...VETO. Where was the outrage when the Republican majority decided to include their earmarks?

On a slightly different note... The Democrats are putting in the pork, and they are proposing higher taxes or "redistribution" to pay for these programs. The Republicans took the same pork packages, then put the bill into the national deficit rather than find a way to pay for the earmarks. It is hard for me to tell which one is worse...

I do not see a good solution to the problems associated with earmarks. I think the best way to keep them "in check" is to have different political parties in the various majorities. A Republican President and a Democratic Congress (or vise versa) would help to eliminate the excess spending that always seems to creep into bills when only one Party is in control.

At 2/05/2008 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The solution is the line item veto used by Bill Clinton to balance the budget. The Supreme Court struck down the legislation as unconstitutional and there has been no attempt to redraft a new bill. It seems that few were willing to give such powers to George Bush.

Earmarks are not necessarily all boondoggles and those that are justified should be funded. If you can spend without providing any business case or any justification, the process is, however, unlikely to produce the best outcome.


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