AP: "Earmarkers feast on pork one last time before diet"
Today, Senate leadership introduced a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through the end of FY2011.
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The spending barons on Capitol Hill, long used to muscling past opponents of bills larded with pet projects, are seeking one last victory before tea party-backed GOP insurgents storm Congress intent on ending the good old days of pork-barrel politics.
Their 1,900-plus-page bill comes to the floor this week stuffed with provisions sought by lawmakers. It contains thousands of pet projects, known as earmarks, pushed by Democratic and GOP senators alike — despite a pledge by Republicans to give up such projects next year.
The catchall bill is designed to bankroll the operations of every Cabinet agency for the budget year that started Oct. 1, as well as provide more than $100 billion to pay for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The year-end logjam continues a long tradition in which a dysfunctional Congress is unable to do its most basic job of providing money to run the government on time.
Rather than debating a dozen separate appropriations bills, the omnibus spending measure rolls all the spending bills into a single piece of legislation that is likely to be brought to the floor in a way that keeps opponents from trimming it down.