11 December 2009

Congress Passes Pork-barrel Spending

LA Times: House OKs $3.9 billion in earmarks in spending bill

In all, the bill contains 5,224 earmarks costing about $3.9 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group.

Though Democrats say they have cracked down on pork-barrel spending, critics attacked the bill as excessive.

The $447-billion bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled House with no Republican votes and was before the Senate, combines six spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

The measure brings total earmarks in this year's spending bills to 7,577 at a cost of about $6 billion, according to Taxpayers.

The practice of designating federal dollars for pet projects, often sought by campaign contributors and lobbyists, has come under scrutiny because of scandals, including one that landed former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe) in prison.

But lawmakers see bringing home the bacon as a way to show constituents that they are getting something for their taxes.

Republicans, who believe that the explosion of earmarks while they controlled Congress contributed to their losing the majority in 2006, assailed the spending measure as excessive, even though it includes money they sought for projects in their districts.

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