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Yet more progress, Obama style

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/12/congress-slashed-earmarks_n_534524.html

Congress Slashed Earmarks In 2009: White House Analysis

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress obtained about 2,000 fewer pet projects for their home states last year, according to a White House analysis released Monday.

Lawmakers stuffed 9,192 so-called earmarks into spending bills last year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $11 billion, the analysis found. By White House calculations, that's a 17 percent drop in the number of earmarks and a 27 percent reduction in cost.

"All too often, earmarks are an easy vehicle for special interest dealmaking – inserted into congressional spending bills without filter for merit, need, priority, or any scrutiny," White House budget chief Peter Orszag said in a statement.

"Although more needs to be done, the news is encouraging: Earmarks are down by double-digit percentages," Orszag said.

Earmarks like road and water projects are a cherished tradition and skyrocketed during GOP control of Congress. Democrats have succeeded in cutting them back a little and have instituted reforms to make the process more open and less subject to corruption.

House Republicans have sworn them off this year as they seek an edge in the November elections.

"Abuse of the earmark process is a symbol of how Washington is broken, and Washington Democrats have done far too little to fix it," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Still, budget watchdog groups and the White House itself said the drop in earmarks is not quite that dramatic because accounting for some water projects has changed.

White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin said that even when those projects are excluded, the cost of last year's earmarks went down by about 14 percent from the year before.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, an anti-earmark group, says the cost of last year's earmarks was even higher, more like $16 billion. That is because the group counts billions of dollars spent on Pentagon programs the administration has sought to kill off but that Congress has revived. Such programs include the C-17 cargo jet that President Barack Obama opposes.

Opponents of earmarks say they have a corrupting influence on lawmakers, getting them to support spending bills they would otherwise oppose. And they say they created a "pay-to-play" culture in which companies seeking earmarks and their hired lobbyists returned the favor with campaign contributions.

The definition of an earmark varies, but they are most commonly regarded as a specific project, contract or grant not requested by the president but inserted into one of the annual spending bills.

Once inserted by the most senior and powerful lawmakers and those on the appropriations and transportation committees, earmarks mushroomed after Republicans took over Congress in 1995.

Then, GOP leaders like Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, saw earmarks as a way to help endangered Republicans keep their seats and to reward lawmakers loyal to GOP leaders.

When the Bush White House first counted up earmarks for 2005, with Republicans in control of the House and Senate, it discovered about 13,500 earmarks totaling about $19 billion. That's about one-third more than last year, at a 41 percent higher cost.

Progress.

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homersimpson.png

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While I comend Congress and the Senate on getting the amount of earmarks down. Something that needed to be done for years. There is nothing in that story about the $1,300,000,000,000.00 earmark that Obama signed off on.

I think they called it a "stimulus". After that hefty fuger there has not really been a need for earmarks.

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ahh I can feel the hate swelling within you

wait thats just disgust with the fact that he has been able to make progress on yet another one of his radical leftist agenda promises

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obama style, haha...do you actually think obama has any real power in this country? he's the spokesman for wall street and the banking community. two-thousand fewer pet projects is nothing to get excited over.

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Don't forget the New New World Order. Alot like New New Minglewood Blues only not as cool.

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Wait...a precentage drop from what? The previous year?

The Democrats have controlled Congress since 2006 right?

And are we including the peices of legislation such as the second stimulus act that weren't technically earmarks since they were actual written legislation?

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You think too much, INGBA.

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You think too much, INGBA.

Well, like Bill Hicks said, I'm a reader.

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obama style, haha...do you actually think obama has any real power in this country? he's the spokesman for wall street and the banking community. two-thousand fewer pet projects is nothing to get excited over.

If it was two thousand more projects if would Satan driving down the street in his pink Cadillac.

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