Lawmakers Seek to Reel in Earmarks:


Earmarks in Appropriations bills have ballooned from 4,000 a decade ago to over 14,000 today. Legislators from both parties are taking aim at these projects and are proposing various degrees of reforms. In a Bloomberg article conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is “threatening to slow the Senate’s business to a crawl by forcing his colleagues to vote on each of the thousands of obscure, sometimes unusual pork-barrel projects.” He asks, “Should we be spending money in ways that are other than in the vital interest of the country?” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is joining Coburn in threatening to bring each earmark to a vote. According to the New York Times, Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have proposed a reform that “would allow senators to object to any earmarks added in the final stages of negotiations and force sponsors to win at least 60 votes to retain them … [and] require that the final version of legislation be available for at least 24 hours before a floor vote and that the sponsor of each earmark be included along with a justification.”