SOTU: Federal Earmarks Have Exploded Under Bush And GOP-Led Congress

Bush said: “The people’s trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks — special interest projects that are often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or debate.”

FACT — BUSH HAS ENGAGED IN HIS OWN EARMARKING: In 2007, Bush stuffed approximately 580 earmarks worth $15.6 billion into his appropriation request for military construction and veterans affairs. Bush’s earmarks included $24 million for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program and “$8.9 million for the Points of Light foundation, a pet project started by his father, former President George H.W. Bush.” [Washington Examiner, 11/15/07]

FACT — BUSH HAS REPEATEDLY SIGNED PORK-LADEN BILLS INTO LAW: According to the Congressional Research Service, there were 997 earmarks in the Fiscal 2000 defense appropriation bill. By the Fiscal 2005 law that Bush signed into law, there were 2506 earmarks, “more than two and half times the number contained the Fiscal 2000 bill.” In the bill funding the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, the number of earmarks grew from 291 in 2000 to 3,014 in 2005. [Lilly, 1/28/08]

FACT — EARMARKS EXPLODED UNDER THE GOP-CONTROLLED CONGRESS: When Republicans took over Congress in 1994, there were 4,000 earmarks on appropriations bills. At the end of the 109th Congress in 2005, there were 15,000. [Washington Post, 1/25/06; The Gavel, 1/28/08]

FACT — CURRENT 110TH CONGRESS HAS CUT EARMARKS IN HALF: “As promised when they took control of Congress,” in 2007, “House Democratic leaders cut in half from last year the value of earmarks in the bill, as they did in the other 11 agency spending measures.” [New York Times, 11/4/07]