Despite massive deficit, earmarks increase in 2009
September 14, 2009 by Spencer Cameron
Media reports suggest excessive government spending has not ended with the bailouts of financial companies and the stimulus bill, as estimates suggests earmarks have grown from last year.
The fiscal year ends on September 30, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for appropriations bills to be passed and signed into law on time, something which has not happened since the mid-1990s.
At the same time, it has transpired that in addition to the $787 billion stimulus package and the $410 billion omnibus spending bill passed earlier this year, total earmarks have increased from $18.3 billion in 2008 to $19.9 billion in 2009, according to TheHill.com.
Earmarks are spending measures inserted into appropriations bills at the request of individual lawmakers and typically benefit projects in their home states. They are, according to Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, "part and parcel of the pay-to-play system that permeates Washington."
Democrats in both Houses are among those who have pushed for most pork barrel spending this fiscal year, with Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia leading the pack at $349.6 million (95 earmarks) and Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania who has won 46 of them at the cost to taxpayers of $120.5 million, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Meanwhile, a recent White House budget office estimate put the federal deficit at $9 trillion for the 2010-2019 time period.