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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oink Oink Go The Earmarks

Remember this?



Well, brace yourselves... this new "Omnibus" is looking even worse!
$7.7 Billion In Earmarks In 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill
TAX PAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE
Feb 24, 2009

Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) has been going through the omnibus to pull together a total number of earmarks and dollar amount. TCS found 8,570 disclosed earmarks worth $7.7 billion. When you add the $6.6 billion in disclosed earmarks that were in the three FY09 spending bills that passed in the fall (Defense, DHS, MilCon/VA) you end up with $14.3 billion worth of disclosed earmarks in FY09. The apples-to-apples comparison from 2008 yielded $14.8 billion, so there was a $500 million reduction in disclosed earmarks between FY08 and FY09. Click here for the preliminary analysis.

A big disparity between TCS’s number and the Committee number ($3.8 billion) is that the Appropriations Committee chooses not to include earmarks from project-based accounts in their totals, despite the fact that they were not requested by the administration. For example, the Corps of Engineers budget is made up of hundreds of projects that add up to the agency total. These numbers are not included in the committee totals or in their reduction predictions. In addition, the committee ascribes many operations and maintenance projects to the President when they were not actually requested as part of the FY09 budget.

Finally, we can only provide numbers for disclosed earmarks. These are the projects with a member’s name next to them. However, TCS has been doing earmark analysis for many years and we found a lot of “looks like earmark, talks like an earmark” provisions in the bill that we tally as “undisclosed” earmarks, so our totals are apple-to-apple with previous years. For instance, last year TCS found billions ($3.5B) of undisclosed earmarks to go with the earmarks disclosed by the committees ($14.8B). This number will take a lot more digging to figure out. But we are on it.

FY2009 Omnibus Disclosed Earmark Totals - With Comparison to FY2008 Totals (Excel File)

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Examples of Earmarks in the Omnibus

$713,625 Woody Biomass at SUNY-ESF. Walsh and Schumer sponsors
$951,500 Sustainable Las Vegas. Berkeley and Reid sponsors.
$24,000 A+ for Abstinence. Specter is sponsor.
$300,000 Montana World Trade Center. Rehberg sponsor.
$950,000 Myrtle Beach International Trade and Convention Center. Graham sponsor.
$200,000 Oil Region Alliance. Peterson sponsor.
$190,000 Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY for digitizing and editing the Cody collection. Barbara Cubin is the sponsor
$143,000 Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV, to expand natural history education programs. Sponsored by Harry Reid
$238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Honolulu, HI, for educational programs. Sen. Daniel Inouye is the sponsor.
$381,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY for music education programs. Jerrold Nadler is the sponsor.
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