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Federal Funding in the News

Congressman puts earmarks in positive light
April 16, 2009

Representative Simpson describes appropriations process to Idaho wheat growers during an issues and information meeting in Twin Falls, Idaho. Click here to read the full article.

University of Georgia will benefit from about $9 million in earmarks this year.
March 13, 2009

The Athens Banner-Herald reported on recent earmarks awarded to the University of Georgia. UGA administrators and scientists say earmarks pay for valuable research that might otherwise never get done. Click here to read the full article. To see a complete list of UGA earmarks, click here.

Enterprise News reports on the City of Brockton, MA earmarks
March 13, 2009

Bridgewater State College Political Scientist Michael Kryzanek comments that the City of Brockton’s earmarks do not resemble the type of “pork barrel” spending that has given earmarks a bad name and notes that the overwhelming number of earmarks are legitimate expenditures. The full article can be read here.

Up North Live’s Fact Finder on Earmarks
March 13, 2009

In a fact finding article, Ms. Diana Fairbanks reports on the hundreds of millions of dollars returned to Michigan for local projects. The full article can be read here.

Obey Dear Colleague
March 12, 2009

Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations David Obey (D-WI) details to members of the House of Representatives the process for requesting earmarks in the FY2010 spending bills. The full article can be read here.

An opinion authored by Denise Ross in the Daily Republic compares President Obama’s and Senator Tim Johnson’s positions on earmarks.
February 2, 2009

Ms. Ross notes that what’s “one state’s wasteful pork barrel is another’s clean drinking water” in an opinion on congressional earmarks. The full article can be read here.

Congress and the incoming Administration are working to pass legislation to stimulate the economy.
January 6, 2009

President-elect Obama and Congress are working together to craft a multi-billion dollar spending package aimed at stimulating the economy. President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to revitalize the economy can be found here.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Announce Additional Reforms in Committee Earmark Policy
January 6, 2009

On January 6, 2009, the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees announced further steps to increase the transparency of the earmarking process. A press release from the Committee chairmen can be found here.

Guest letter: How an earmark can be worth every penny
The Star Tribune
September 17, 2008

Suzanne Koepplinger, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, provides an example of a congressional earmark that was used to create a sexual violence intervention program for American Indian women. The full article can be read here.

No-earmarks pledge may mean less federal money for GA. 5 members of state delegation say they have sworn off 'pork'
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 24, 2008

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discusses the financial ramifications the state of Georgia may face now that five Members of Congress did not request funding for congressional earmarks. "We're going to get less than last year," said Representative Jack Kingston (GA-1). The full article can be read here.

Bringing home the bacon
The Sun Chronicle, Massachusetts
July 14, 2008

A column in the Sun Chronicle used several examples of congressional earmarks to make the argument that “what is wasteful to one is a necessity to another.”  The full article can be read here.

Method of funding keeps us in the game
Herald-Journal, South Carolina
July 13, 2008

In an editorial published in the Herald-Journal, Clemson University President James F. Barker defends the research dollars the university has received through the congressional earmark process and details the accomplishments achieved with this funding. Barker writes “thus the earmark funding was and continues to be seed money, making Clemson University, Anderson County and South Carolina competitive in a growing high-tech, high-paying industry.” The full article can be read here.

Reform earmarks, don't eliminate them
Nashua Telegraph, New Hampshire
July 13, 2008

An editorial in the Nashua Telegraph found that the on the whole, congressional earmarks provide a benefit and that money was used to fund worthwhile projects throughout New Hampshire, yet the process should become more transparent. The full editorial can be read here.

Kline's rejection of earmarks has reverberations in Second District
Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
July 12, 2008

Writing for the Star Tribune, Emily Johns compares the viewpoints of Republican Congressman John Kline and his Democratic challenger Steve Sarvi regarding congressional earmarks for transportation projects.  The full article can be read here.

Newport Beach peeved by pork protester        
Orange County Register
July 10, 2008

Writing for the Orange County Register, Jeff Overley reports that critics of Representative John Campbell’s anti-earmark pledge claim that the congressman’s position will jeopardize funding for two needed dredging projects. "I think it's frustrating that (Campbell) doesn't seem to make the distinction between some empty earmarks and something that's just critical," said Councilwoman Nancy Gardner. The full article can be read here.

Maine landmark owes debt to first earmark
Portland Press Herald
May 18, 2008
The first-ever earmark is believed to be for a project in Maine when in 1790, Rep. George Thatcher of Massachusetts (Maine was part of Massachusetts then) persuaded Congress to spend $1,500 to help complete Portland Head Light. At the time, Portland was one of the nation’s busiest ports, but Maine had no lighthouses when 74 merchants petitioned the Massachusetts government for a light to mark the entrance to Portland Harbor. The deaths of two people in a 1787 shipwreck at Bangs (now Cushing) Island near Portland finally led to the effort to build the lighthouse. The Press Herald story can be read here.

Friends of the Earmark Make Themselves Heard
The Washington Post
April 29, 2008
The Washington Post’s Jeffrey H. Birnbaum wrote an article on “The hottest document on Capitol Hill,” which he described as “…an anonymous six-page white paper that defends, of all things, earmarks -- those much-maligned home-state projects that lawmakers shoehorn into spending bills.” In fact, the white paper was penned by local government advocates at The Ferguson Group, which lobbies Congress on behalf of local governments that benefit from earmarks. To read the Post story, visit washingtonpost.com.

'Earmarks' by Another Name: Democracy
The Washington Post
April 26, 2008
Three city mayors make the case for earmarks in this Washington Post editorial, arguing that leaving all the spending decisions to unelected officials of the executive branch who do not understand local needs is a bad idea. Authors Dannel P. Malloy, mayor of Stamford, CT, Robert Duffy, Mayor of Rochester, NY, and Mark Mallory, Mayor of Cincinnati, write:  “As mayors, we are keenly aware that our three cities have directly benefited from congressional earmarks -- whether they protect low-income children from the hazards of lead paint or revitalize urban waterways -- as have most towns and cities in the country.” The full article can be read here.

Memo Questions Fairness Of Bush's Earmark Decisions
March 6, 2008

A story by Peter Cohn in Congress Daily reports on a white paper that circulated on Capitol Hill entitled: “The Fairness of Congressional Earmarking in American Democracy.” The report, authored by The Ferguson Group, a government relations firm, demonstrates the benefits of having Congress earmark federal funding. The full story can be read here.

The white paper can be downloaded here.

Lesson I: Earmarks Can Be Good for Democracy
The Huffington Post
December 10, 2007
Representative Major R. Owens, who has served New York's 11th Congressional District since 1982, writes: “Despite the negative publicity and appropriate outrage against millions for bridges to nowhere and for weapon gadgets that the generals consider to be jokes, the practice of earmarking deserves an objective citizen examination. Some of us in the progressive legislative community contend that earmarks can be good for democracy. Read the full article here.

The Power of the Purse: Banning Earmarks Is Not the Right Reform
February 26, 2007
Tom  DeLay, a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represented Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1985 to 2006 and who was former majority whip and majority leader, argued in an editorial in the news magazine Politico that earmark reform is needed, but banning earmarks is not the right course of action:  “The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, and there is absolutely no reason that power should apply only to top-line spending levels and not to specific programs. Congress, after all, created all the agencies. Banning earmarking is like stating parents have a right to say how much the family is going to spend on food, but the kids get to do the actual shopping.” The full article can be read here.