Pricey Pet Projects Thrive in Congress

Despite criticism, lawmakers stuff budgets with earmarks
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2007 10:29 AM CST
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, secured more than $20 million for an "expeditionary craft" that will connect Anchorage with the windblown rural peninsula of Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Critics say the project...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The earmark lives. Despite much public clamoring about lawmakers loading up budgets with expensive pet projects, not much changed this year: The domestic and defense budgets contain more than 11,000 such earmarks, the Washington Post reports. "It would take leadership in both parties—and a lot more shame—to ever rein them in," said a watchdog group.

The number of earmarks is technically down, but critics say that's just because Congress reworked the definition—"like saying you’re meeting your weight-loss goal by not counting your backside.” One $20 million project funds an Alaskan “ferry to nowhere." Another gives $9 million to Kentucky for "rural domestic preparedness." President Bush yesterday threatened to cancel thousands of the earmarks. (Read more earmarks stories.)