Congress’ Second Helping
Posted on Jun 13, 2008
Pork, as in earmarks, not as in pig, is again in vogue this political season only a year after a 2007 congressional promise to curb what some call wasteful spending in politicians’ home districts. At the top of the earmarking ladder is the defense authorization bill (read military-industrial complex), which saw a 29 percent increase in district spending since 2007.
The Washington Post:
More than a year after Congress pledged to curb pork barrel funding known as earmarks, lawmakers are gearing up for another spending binge, directing billions toward organizations and companies in their home districts.
Earmark spending in the House’s defense authorization bill alone soared 29 percent last month, from $7.7 billion last year to $9.9 billion now, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. The Senate bill has not been approved, but the proposal includes an increased number of earmarks, although for a slightly lesser total cost.
Lawmakers had promised to cut back on earmarks and mandated better disclosure of them after steady criticism that they were funding programs with little debate or oversight. The promises led to an initial decline in earmarks last year that was trumpeted on Capitol Hill. But the new data show that they are surging again, at least in the proposed Pentagon authorization budget, which sets out priorities to be funded in a later appropriations bill.
Pork-barrel earmarks remain a staple for Senate and House politicians who spend money in their home districts to garner support for their own re-election campaigns.