3,309 New Earmarks Proposed by 324 Members of Congress Cost Taxpayers $10 Billion
Congressional earmarks were banned for a decade.
Last week, however, 3,309 earmarks from 220 Democrats and 104 Republicans were proposed. Pork is back on the table. The total tab for taxpayers is nearly $10 billion. We broke our investigation at Forbes where we also included links to our interactive map – we mapped all earmarks by congressional district.
It’s a reminder of why the practice was banned as the “currency of corruption in Congress.”
Late Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) spearheaded the 2011 ban, calling earmarks “the gateway drug” to corruption and overspending.
Recently, some House Republicans criticized the party’s move to join with Democrats on earmarks. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) argued that earmarks are “little more than legislative bribery.”
However, 104 Republicans signed onto the Democrat-backed spending measure.
Examples of Republican proposed earmarks include requests from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for $2 million for two new YMCAs in Ottawa and Joliet; $1.2 million for a “Canandaigua Trolley” from Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY); and $18.6 million to rebuild the fire station in Kodiak, Alaska (Rep. Don Young R-AK).
Examples of Democrat proposed earmarks include a $5,000 request to purchase “Santa gifts” for seniors in Beech Grove (Rep. Andre Carson D-IN); $250,000 to expand the Michelle Obama Library (Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan D-CA); $300,000 for a new dog park in Montebello (Rep. Linda Sanchez D-CA); and $7.7 million for a Tampa Street Car project (Rep. Kathy Castor D-FL).
The national debt stands at $28 trillion today, and continuing earmarking pet projects will only drive the national debt higher.
Bringing back earmarks is the fiscal equivalent of bringing back the Swine Flu.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.