Lawmakers finance pet projects without earmarks

WASHINGTON — No one was more critical than Representative Mark Steven Kirk when President Obama and the Democratic majority in the Congress sought passage last year of a $787 billion spending bill intended to stimulate the economy. And during his campaign for the Illinois Senate seat once held by Mr. Obama, Mr. Kirk, a Republican, boasted of his vote against “Speaker Pelosi’s trillion-dollar stimulus plan.”

Though Mr. Kirk and other Republicans thundered against pork-barrel spending and lawmakers’ practice of designating money for special projects through earmarks, they have not shied from using a less-well-known process called lettermarking to try to direct money to projects in their home districts.

Full story: Some Earmarks Could Elude a Ban – NYTimes.com

  • givemeliberty

    It baffles me the extent that some people will go to to limit the powers of Congress. I know that it is made up of many power hungry, often times self interested and unresponsive people. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it is the most representative of the three branches of government. Who would this move transfer the power to? The unelected bureaucrats of the executive branch, that’s who. The November elections and the TEA party were not about strengthening the power of the President and the executive branch.

    The system is such that if my representative shames me and the people of my home district by pushing for a 3 billion dollar wasteful study of bull semen (great example professor) and makes us the laughing stock of the nation, we can vote him out. But who will vote out the nameless, faceless, bureaucrat who authorizes the same wasteful funding for his alma mater just to help an old college colleague?

  • sunnyr

    If Republicans start playing semantic games, they will answer to THE PEOPLE at their next election. We are in NO MOOD to be hoodwinked by a bunch of goofball politicians and will exact our revenge. You can take it to the BANK!

  • barnone

    The aide to Haiti after the earthquake was an earmark.
    The aide to Indonesia after the tsunami was an earmark.
    The initial aide to gulf after Katrina was an earmark.

    So, should we ban all earmarks?

    • barnone

      I forgot to mention the initial aide to NYC after 9/11 was an earmark.

      • jjsmithers

        Why is this such a confusing issue for you ?

        Do you think the House and Senate are unable to vote on aid to victims of disasters unless it is in the form of an earmark ?

        • barnone

          The issues is NOT confusing to me at all. The fastest way to approve funds is by attaching the request to an existing bill that is about to be passed. It can take less than a day to do an earmark a new bill takes a minimum of two weeks. There are MANY bills passed each month by unanimous consent.

          My point is for folks to understand that it is not the tool but the tools that use it for their own purpose. I can see it now; an tragic event happens and the Republican House and the Republican members of the Senate use an Earmark to provide aide. And then the press jumps on them for breaking their promises.

          BTW, thanks for taking the bait.

  • theprofessor

    So, now even writing a letter, for all the world to see, and asking for money for education is “earmarking”? Yea, right,,,and that’s exactly the same as adding an earmark in the middle of the night to fund a study of bull sem en in Iowa. Ridiculous.

  • markcar55

    At what point is asking for consideration for funds not considered “EARMARKING”, I would call it “FEARMARKING” instead, since those involved in these agencies are afraid to say NO or not provide the level of funding requested. I don’t think that sending a letter or making a phone call on behalf of a constituent is the same as what is called EARMARKING currently, 1. It is not done by adding it onto a bill that is before Congress, 2. The agency has the right of refusal at anytime but if they don’t then it is the agency that is at fault.

    At what point is the PC police going to back down. And changing definitions in the media does not make it a “crime” legal or emotional. The MSM has very little credibility left after 2008 elections.

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  • diamndgirl

    They can also do it via phone…anyone think earmarks for congress-critters states/projects are ever going to go away, they’d be wrong in my humble opinion.