Some pork with your spending bill?

Amy Scott Sep 29, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: The Senate’s expected to pass a $447 billion defense budget today. Buried inside it, are thousands of earmarks. You know, the Senators’ pet projects, pork if you will. But I would swear Congress just cracked down on that kind of thing. Didn’t it, Amy Scott?

AMY SCOTT: The House did recently adopt new rules to crack down on runaway earmarks. If members want to fund special projects, they have to disclose their sponsorship.

But Steven Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense says the rules don’t go very far.

For one thing, they don’t apply to the Senate. And they only cover money going to non-federal entities like universities or companies. So Ellis says the sponsor of a $4.6 million grant for an Army acoustics program wouldn’t have to come forward even though the program is based at the University of Mississippi or Ole Miss.

STEVEN ELLIS: Which happens to be the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman’s alma mater. It’s not defined as an earmark because it’s going to the Army, supposedly, but it’s obviously benefiting the bottom line of Ole Miss.

That committee chairman, Republican senator Thad Cochran, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The House earmark rules expire at the end of the year.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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