After Decline, Congress' Earmarking is Back

Legislators pledged to shrink such spending last year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 13, 2008 10:46 AM CDT
Congressional earmarking has grown after a decline sparked last year.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Though Congress vowed last year to reduce earmarking—the process of directing funds to projects at home with little scrutiny—recently there’s been a jump in such spending, the Washington Post reports. A House defense bill’s earmarked funds rose 29% last month, and the Senate bill looks as though it will follow the trend. “Parties talk a good game,” said an analyst, “but at first opportunity, the House larded up.”

Legislators pledged to reduce earmarks last year under pressure for carelessly funding programs, and the earmarks declined. But “this is just another broken promise,” said the analyst. While some argue Congress has the right to control where the money goes, and that it often boosts useful projects, others claim it leads to dirty politics in a “pay-to-play” system, where generous lobbyists receive earmarks in exchange for campaign cash.