Earmarks: The Saga Continues
$2 million, Transmission Dynamometer.
$6 million, Battlefield Anti-Intrusion System
$9.5 million, Multi-Band, Multi-Mission Radio
$50 million, Aerial Reconnaissance Multi-Sensor
$523 million, F-22A Raptor
Guess what these are? That's right, smarty, earmarks.
They're among 974 included in the House and Senate defense authorization bills. Here's a story about them in the Washington Post.
In case you missed the seminar (ok, and earlier Government Inc. posts), earmarks are a variety of Congressional pork in which lawmakers direct funding to companies, universities and other organizations in their home districts (oftentimes in the hope the public largess will result in more support from voters and contributions from happy recipients and their lobbyists).
Early last year, in a bout of remorse and political sensitivity, Congress promised to curb its use of earmarks, which are often slipped into budget plans without debate or oversight. They also mandated disclosure of the earmarks, perhaps thinking lawmakers would be embarassed if their funding requests were made public.
But the remorse didn't last very long -- and the embarassment never seemed to materialize.
At least there's a tally now to examine, at least if the earmarks hold through the entire appropriations process. (This is one important step before the appropriations legislation).
New data compiled by the folks at Taxpayers For Common Sense show that earmark spending the in the defense authorization legislation approved by the House soared by 29 percent to $9.9 billion. The number of earmarks increased on the Senate side, even though the value dropped slightly to $5.4 billion.
Anyway, you'll find their spreadsheet here in the link called "new analysis." Please feel free to go on a data-romp -- let's call it mucking around -- and see where all that money is set to go for yourself.
As usual, Government Inc. would love to hear about any interesting finds.
P.S. Here's what President Bush had to say about earmarks, brought to you in living technicolor.
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