The response to the Senate vote from rank-and-file lawmakers: They sent in so many last-minute earmark requests that a House Appropriations Committee web site seized up and the deadline for requesting pork had to be extended.
And then there are the explanations. This from Representative Nancy Boyda:
"Earmarks allow members of Congress to devote funds to projects that are important to their district — and representatives can better judge their districts' needs than some bureaucrat," Boyda wrote her constituents. "I want to make sure that Kansas taxpayers are getting their fair share of funds returning to Kansas projects — research at our universities, investment in our infrastructure and growth at our military bases."
I've heard this said by a number of Representatives and Senators, and if that's really the goal, then lower taxes so more of the money never leaves where it's supposed to be going in the first place. Unfortunately, too many on Capitol Hill have sipped this putrid Kool Aid.
It is also a fact that earmarks are completely open to fraud and waste, placing the power of the purse in the hands of a single person who may or may not have a clue. Our own Rep. Scott Garrett proved this fact with flying colors last funding cycle by requesting a $1.5 million earmark after the Army had ended the program Garrett was funding.
Did Garrett think he was doing right by the District? Probably. Did he know the Army had ended the program? Probably not. Should he have had an inkling? Absolutely.
If the project a lawmaker wants to fund can't stand up in an open granting process, it shouldn't be funded. Earmarks need to end, plain and simple. Anyone who says otherwise should be voted out of office.