Earmarks create a Web collapse

John Dimsdale Mar 21, 2008


Scott Jagow: President Bush and some people in Congress have been trying limit the amount of pork in the budget. But something happened this week that wasn’t very encouraging. John Dimsdale reports from Washington.

John Dimsdale: This year, the House Appropriations Committee decided to try a new system to help it process the tens of thousands of member requests for special budget line items known as earmarks. Instead of putting them on paper, the committee told lawmakers to upload their requests to a website by March 19. On that day, the website collapsed from so much traffic.

Keith Ashdown at the watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense says the sheer number of requests shows no one is keeping track.

Keith Ashdown: If their new website can’t deal with an amount of earmark requests coming in, it’s clear that they’re not going to be able to manage this when they have to vet and prioritize these projects.

Last week, lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a bill to limit earmarks.

The website is back online, and the committee has extended the deadline for earmark requests until midnight Monday.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.