Republicans Outspend Democrats On Earmarks, Set Record

1. Congressional Earmarks: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
2. Republicans Set Record For Big Spending on Earmarks
3. Earmarks Help Make Congress Even More Corrupt


Republicans claim to be fiscal conservatives but they're governing like out-of-control swamp creatures. Not only has the federal budget gone up every year the Republicans have been in control, new data show they will outspend Democrats on so-called “earmarks” this year and will set a new record. It's time for a permanent ban on wasteful pork-barrel earmarks.

As I will discuss below, there have been 232 earmarks in fiscal year 2018, and there are still over two months left to go. That puts us on track to more than double the number of earmarks over the level seen in FY2017. And the cost of this year’s earmarks so far is up 116% over last year. As I have pointed out often over the years, the Republicans can spend with the best of them, and I have not hesitated to criticize them for it. Today’s E-Letter topic is just one more example of that.

Since many Americans are not familiar with how the earmark process works, I’ll briefly explain it below. This topic should be of interest to conservatives and liberals alike.

Congressional Earmarks: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Earmarks, also known as pork-barrel spending, are extra money lawmakers tack on to congressional legislation that is near passage for special projects in their districts – usually in order to generate political support back home.

For decades, earmarks were used as deal sweeteners: Lawmakers could cast votes that were unpopular with their political party but could demand additional federal spending for their home district – which would allow them to go home to constituents with funding for a bridge, dam, roads, post office, airport or other popular projects.

The term “earmark” actually comes from the livestock industry where the ears of domestic animals were cut in specific ways so that farmers could distinguish their stock from others grazing on public land. Specifically, the term comes from earmarked hogs where, by analogy, the term “pork-barrel” spending was born.