New Earmarks in Omnibus Spending Bill Cost $16 Billion

earmarks omnibus bill
Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

Congress’ $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, contains no less than $16 billion in earmarks — funding for 7,510 pet projects in lawmakers’ districts.

These new earmarks pay for projects that will make lawmakers’ constituents in their home states and districts happy, rather than going to the core functions of the federal government.

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“In effect, earmarks are legal bribes doled out to members of Congress in exchange for their support of these large, irresponsible spending bills that are rushed through without much scrutiny,” Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and Founder of, wrote in an opinion piece in The Daily Caller.

For example, $20,000 will go to upgrade a National Park Service bathroom in Murphysboro, Illinois.

A $1 million stairway to the beach in Mondo Cove Beach, California will allow surfers easier access to the waves; the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland will receive $1 million; the Universal Hip Hop Museum in New York will receive $2 million; $3 million will go to restore the Irish Heritage Center in Maine; and $3.75 million will go renovate a Chicago YMCA.

Republicans in red-Texas out-earmarked Democrats $500 million to $300 million, just as in Florida, where the state’s Republican caucus out-earmarked the Democrats $445 million to $251 million.

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“It’s time to tell Congress: get back to normal budgeting, not temporary bills stuffed with special favors,” Andrzejewski wrote. The $1.7 trillion budget is up from about $1.5 trillion in the last fiscal year.

OpenTheBooks has logged every earmark in a searchable database, showing which congressmember requested how much money and for what project.

Former Honorary Chairman of OpenTheBooks, U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn, said it best: “Earmarks are the gateway drug to runaway spending bills.”

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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