Earmarks Won’t Go Away…House Members Caught Inserting 115 in Defense Bill
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
(graphic: Hallmark Products)
Letting go of earmarks is one of the hardest things to do for U.S. House members.
The office of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) contends in a new report that both Republicans and Democrats stuffed a major defense appropriations bill with earmarks totaling $834 million. Earmarks are generally defined as budget allocations that are inserted into a bill without going through the normal competitive procurement process, usually to be spent in the district of the member of Congress who proposed the expense. More than 100 targeted spending requests were in the legislation when it was approved by the House, despite rules banning earmarks.
Seventy-five earmarks came from Democrats and 40 from Republicans, including Tea Party members who pledged to do away with the practice.
Examples included Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) trying to extract $2.5 million to “support research into corrosion control and anti-biofouling coatings,” and Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr. (R-California) calling for $5 million for a company in his district to work on “the development and fielding of a solution for helicopter ‘brownout’ situational awareness.”
McCaskill called the behavior a “bold flaunting” of the GOP-led moratorium on earmarks. She also rebuked Republicans for having “scrubbed” from their websites documents about earmarks that would have made it easier to identify the practice.
The defense appropriations bill is now being negotiated between House and Senate leaders trying to seek a compromise on funding priorities. Stung by criticism, House Armed Services Committee leaders on Friday deleted most—but not all—of the earmarks the before House-Senate conference.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Mccaskill Study Alleges 115 'Earmarks' in House Defense Bill (by Robert Koenig, Beacon)
Mccaskill-led Earmark Probe Finds $834 Million in Requests (by Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post)
Defense Bill Loses $700 Million in Special Projects (by Charles Hoskinson, Politico)
Investigation of House FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act Earmarks (office of Senator Claire McCaskill) (pdf)
Goodbye Earmarks; Hello Phonemarks, Lettermarks and “Soft” Earmarks (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Tea Party Caucus Members Took $1 Billion in Earmarks (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Sen. Kyl Denounces Earmarks…Except His Own for $200 Million (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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