NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Spending "Earmarks" May Exceed Those under Clinton Administration

November 9, 2001

Specific pork-barrel projects in spending bills -- such as research grants designated to go to a particular college or university -- are known in the political world as "earmarks." Only last spring, the Bush administration proposed to write off billions of dollars in such projects by the Clinton administration as "one-time" expenditures.

But now the earmarks may actually be growing.

  • Congress yesterday approved a $112.7 billion appropriations bill estimated to have close to 1,400 earmarked projects.
  • The earmarks related to science, veterans, housing and environmental programs.
  • Earlier, House and Senate negotiators approved a $75.9 billion agriculture budget -- adding scores of research projects, along with an amendment to help U.S. catfish growers fight imports from Vietnam.
  • Hours later, still more earmarks were approved as part of a final $39.3 billion Commerce, Justice and State Department budget that adds money to a maritime loan subsidy program that the White House had wanted to terminate.

The list of projects in a single account in the Department of Housing and Urban Development consumed 10 pages of the Congressional Record -- and space-science programs increasingly have become a conduit for grants to home-state universities.

Last spring, the White House complained about more than 6,000 earmarks costing more than $15 billion in the last appropriations bills approved by the departing Clinton administration.

Democratic and Republican staff in the House say the Bush administration has been little help in curbing the more earmark-prone Senate. "We haven't heard a peep," says James Dyer, chief clerk to the House Appropriations panel.

Source: David Rogers, "Add-On Spending Projects Are On Course to Exceed Those of Last Administration," Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2001.

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