5 Things To Know About The $20 Billion Of Earmarks In Congressional Spending Bills
On July 31, the Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA) released a report detailing billions of dollars worth of lawmakers pet projects found in the 2015 House and Senate defense appropriations bills. In total, the group identified more than 240 earmarks worth almost $20 billion. Today’s Top Five Things To Know will take a closer look at that report.
- Earmarks Are Restricted Funds Allocated For A Specific Project By Congress That Were Not Requested By The Agency. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an example of an earmark would be “If the Administration asks for $100 million for formula grants and Congress provides $110 million and places restrictions (such as site-specific locations) on the additional $10 million, the additional $10 million is counted as an earmark.” Earmarks are considered pet projects for lawmakers and were banned in 2010, however hundreds still make there way into appropriations bills.
- The TPA Identified More Than $8 Billion Worth Of Earmarks In The 2015 House Defense Spending Bill. According to the report, in the House bill there were 137 earmark projects totaling $8,176,255,000. These projects ranged from nearly a billion spent on twelve aircrafts, to close to $10 million in research funding for historically black colleges. Annual parties also managed to grab some of the year’s spending as $4.9 million was allocated for next year’s Fourth of July celebration.
- The TPA Identified Nearly $12 Billion Worth Of Earmarks In The 2015 Senate Defense Spending Bill. According to the report, in the Senate version of its 2015 defense bill, there were 190 worth of earmarks worth $11.7 billion in total. One of the interesting projects found in the bill was $250 allocated for cancer research, not a primary concern for the Pentagon. This included $120 million for breast cancer research, $64 million to study prostate cancer and $10 million to research ovarian cancer. In addition, the Senate included $3 million for the Healthy Base Initiative, which assures healthy foods are available in the vending machines around military bases.
- The House Passed Its Version Of The Bill, But The Senate Has Yet To Pass Any Appropriations Bills Currently On The Floor. According to The Washington Times, “The House has passed its version of the bill, but the Senate has yet to tackle any of its spending bills on the chamber floor. Congress is likely to pass some stopgap funding before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, which means continuing 2014 spending into fiscal year 2015. After elections in November, Congress will return for a lame-duck session to try to mesh together spending bills. It also gives lawmakers another chance to delete — or add — pet projects.”
- TPA President David Williams Stated The Appropriations System Is Just Another Example Of Washington Politics “Run Amuck.” Upon release of the report, Williams noted, “Congress continues their track record of running up the bill on the taxpayer dime with unrequested items. Appropriations bills from the House and Senate are yet another terrible example of Washington run amuck. These appropriations bills are just continuing the trend that we’ve seen since the caps on sequestration were broken last year with the passage of the Ryan-Murray budget. As millions of Americans continue to tighten their own belts and make sacrifices this summer due to their own financial struggles, their elected representatives in Washington continue what amounts to out of control spending.”