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  • Secret Earmarks Remain in Federal Budget

    USA Today reported this week that billions in earmarks remain tucked into the funding measure that keeps the federal government running for the remainder of the fiscal year.  Congress is debating right now how much to cut from the measure, yet these secret earmarks are not being openly discussed by members of Congress.

    That’s unfortunate. Earmarks should be low hanging fruit for the cost-conscious legislator. They are special interests projects requested by individual members of Congress.

    The USA Today story indicates that the House-passed short term funding measure fully funds $5 billion in existing earmarks.  Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has submitted legislation, in the form of an amendment to a “small business jobs bill,” to remove these projects.

    According to USA Today, (Half of ‘earmark’ spending untouched in GOP bills,) $4.8 billion in earmarks are hidden in the defense, military construction and veterans affairs were left untouched by the Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government until April 8th:

    House Republicans who crafted two short-term spending bills made $5.3 billion in cuts by going after some of Washington’s least popular spending: those congressional pet projects known as “earmarks.”  Even so, a congressional report shows they left $4.8 billion in earmarks untouched — and critics of congressional pork say they should go after it.  “Many in Congress promised taxpayers a full earmark moratorium, not a half moratorium,” says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., an earmark opponent who requested the report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. “Protecting nearly $5 billion in earmarks from cuts sends the wrong message to taxpayers.”

    Much of the information comes from a March 17 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). According to that report, “funding that was made available to accounts for earmarks in FY2010 would still be available to the agency for obligations in FY 2011.”  Uh-oh. The CR that states that “all of the earmark disclosure lists from the FY 2010 appropriations ‘shall have no legal effect’ for FY2011.”  This leads one to conclude that all of these apparent reductions in earmarks are fake spending cuts.

    If the Congress were to delete the approximately $10 billion in earmarks from the FY2010 process, one could make an argument that those funds never would have been expended (because of the “no legal effect” language) and that the American people should not believe that $10 billion in the final number of cuts are real cuts to spending for this fiscal year.

    Sen. Coburn’s legislation would eliminate all of these old earmarks and other special interest earmarks from the federal budget.  One earmark Coburn would repeal is a tax credit for “Volumetric Ethanol.”  That move alone would save $6 billion in taxpayer money.

    Another Coburn legislative item would bar federal unemployment benefits to those earning over $1 million a year.  The senator’s office says this amendment would save taxpayers $20 million:

    According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, as many as 2,840 households who have reported an income of $1 million or more on their tax returns were paid a total of $18.6 million in unemployment benefits in 2008. This included more than 800 earning over $2 million and 17 with incomes exceeding $10 million.

    Coburn also defunds earmarks in the FY 2010 defense appropriations bill. One example: a $20 million earmark for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.  Elsewhere, highway and mass transit earmarks call for nearly $700 million in extra spending.

    A major obstruction to Coburn’s efforts to pull the plug on earmarks is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  Coburn has been offering this legislation as amendments to pending bills. Leader Reid has refused to let the Oklahoman call up any of his amendments to the small business jobs bill preventing a vote. The President also shares some blame for not calling for the CRs to eliminate all earmarks. Nor do House Republicans win any plaudits here; they have yet to pass a short term CR without earmark funding.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    32 Responses to Secret Earmarks Remain in Federal Budget

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      Next month we are going to be seeing the debate of the century fought by pathetic congress members all dead set on what – saving the federal government at the cost of the citizenry of this once great country.

      The debate will be whether congress will allow the federal workforce to spend us further into debt then the $14.3 trillion (+/-) that they are limited in doing right now. $14.3 trillion means we need to use over $800 billion to pay back the debt for over 50 years. This year’s federal spending – if not curbed – will take us over $15.6 trillion or over $900 billion a year to pay back for over 5 decades. Since we have done virtually NOTHING to curb spending (and do not insult me with the $10 billion dollars of nothing cuts) we will have to make dramatic cuts in FY12 – which considering the pathetic behavior of congress this fiscal year, we will likely see no more cuts next year either – leading to another $1.5 trillion addition to the national debt. This will provide the future generations of this once great country the challenge to pay back $17.1 trillion dollars by scrimping to somehow allocate over a trillion dollars every year to pay this debt down.

      People, this is our gift to generations to come. We the people sanctioned this beast. Now we cannot kill it. No matter how loud we speak these men and women who used to live next door to us, who used to go to the same stores, restaurants and other venues that we go to, they are now a class above us, and they no longer listen to us. The members of congress and the federal workforce are the haves and we the people are the have-nots. They give us promises of doing a simple thing – NO MORE EARMARKS and what do these goons do, keep the ones they love – or got campaign contributions for in. Yes, this was symbolic, but symbology sometimes tells you about the resolve of people. They promised to get rid of these earmarks, and once they wrote the legislation, they patted themselves for accomplishing that task. Now we find out they lied to us. Where were the tea party candidates in there telling us that they were not successful? This is betrayal.

      Every congressperson should be voted out in 2012. Every single person. The Tea Party’s efforts need to include the following – starting now.

      1. Begin cleansing the voter lists. Members of the town have a right to look at the voter list. I was a chair of the Democrat Party for my county in VT back in the 1990’s. I was able to get the lists and scour them. They were marked with who voted democrat, republican and independent in the primaries. I was able to scan the list and make a database for use in sending out solicitations for fund raising. Many of these came back as address not found. There are ways to clean out the voter lists and we need to begin.

      2. We need to find solid tea party centered candidates who fully understand the severity of the current federal government’s need to spend dangerously.

      3. We need people who understand economics, who are not lawyers, public administrators, or politicians. We need people who have run small businesses. We need people who understand the concept of limited government.

      4. We need to get these people elected.

      5. We need to get simple to understand (perhaps using simple picture and small works) for RINOs and liberals so that we may educate them on what their ignorance is costing this nation. Something like “See Jane pay her tax. See Dick spend that tax. See Spot take money from Dick. See Dick with no money. See Jane pay more tax. See Dick keep and spend that tax. See Spot take more money. See Jane pay more tax. See Dick and Spot get rich. See Jane get poor.”

      What do we need to do to get the District of Columbia to smarten up? Why is this so hard? Things are getting out of control and at the same time frightening. I believe that the actions of congress and the federal workforce are pathologically incompetent, self-serving, and damaging. Every single federal worker and congress member has to say the oath that they will protect this nation against all enemies of this nation – both foreign and domestic. They need to look at the person in the mirror and really start to think. Each one of them are domestic terrorists causing immeasurable harm to this nation, they need to go. We need a new congress (ALL NEW), and we need to get a clean sweep of the federal workforce and replace all with new workers who understand they are not the centers of the universe.

      This goes far beyond lying to and defrauding Americans citizens with keeping these earmarks in the budget, this is abject arrogance. This is why we call these people crooks. It is one thing being the crooks who kept this stuff in, but the Tea Party people in congress knew better and should have made noise. Where were they?

    2. George Colgrove VA says:


      Thank you for this article. It is bad news – but neccessary news. It is realy sad when we get this news from left leaning self-serving federal workers int the so-called non-partisan CRS and not from the Tea Party congress members. It goes to show virtue is a basis of who people are. You can lie and hope to get away with deception, but lies follow you, never-the-less. Moreover lies will catch up with you. In this case the deception of the GOP has caught up with them and will discredit them and what we need to do. A warning to you inthe GOP, the libs will get you everywhere you lie.

      More warnings:

      - Dems are cutting budgets while their Unions stay quiet. The Unions only make noise with Republican governors.

      - Dems are exposing GOP lies.

      - Dems are starting to go against Obama.

      If you in the GOP are caught with any more deceptions, these guys will push you out and will use different tacts to impose their will. Stay on the side of virtue. KILL THE EARMARKS NOW! APPOLOGIZE! AND MOVE ON ACTUALLY CUTTING THE GOVERNMENT!! NO MORE GAMES! THIS IS WHY YOU ARE THERE.

    3. George Colgrove VA says:

      Man, this makes me angry!

    4. George Colgrove VA says:



      Drudge Headlines:


      - Turns violent; Anarchists blitz the Ritz…


      How are WE THE PEOPLE supposed to protect ourselves against these public workers??? They do not have any capacity of thought to know they are killing thier respective nations with thier greed for wealth, power and a free handout.

    5. Thelma, Dallas, GA 3 says:

      I agree with Sen. Coburn, stop ALL earmarks. Let's call a 'moratorium' on earmarks until we get the FAIRTAX passed.

    6. L. Kendrick says:

      People use to say,take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves; congress should take care of the millions and the billions will take care of themselves.

    7. Ron Glenn, Steger, I says:

      It is amazing, that day by day, the sneaky dealings are exposed. Not week by week, or month by month, but day by day. I think right now that if there was a way to defund all their benefits and retirement plans, it would be most appropiate to do so.

    8. Carla Troxclair, Ark says:

      I am shocked at the hypocrisy that is, once again, so evident in Congress. We have been promised "change" and are not seeing any of it. Don't they get that We, the people, are desperately seeking good leadership especially concerning the national debt?

      I am even more appalled at the fact that people "earning" $1 million dollars or more are still capable of receiving unemployment benefits!! WHAT? That is as ridiculous as the fact that there are still "earmarks" in the budget! This really makes me sick! I'm expecting to see "term limits" become a part of the future of every Congressman/woman. Perhaps they really have become too comfortable around the table!

    9. Al at Glenwood says:

      Sen Inholf (R-OK) may be another obstruction to Sen Coburn. I'll be watching closely for that.

    10. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Is anyone really surprised that both Repbs and Dem Congressmen are hiding their pet projects (earmarks) wherever they can, at our expense? That is exactly why we need a third political party made up of trun conservatives lawmakers that

      follow the examples of the Tea Party.

    11. Sally Vose, Bath, Ma says:

      Why is it so difficult to get ALL the Republicans to support the necessary cuts that have to be made in order to save our Republic? Earmarks are (or should be) the first to go. This has become so frustrating to those of us who strongly supported these candidates in 2010 – I for one am watching them and recording those members who have lost their nerve and will be voting accordingly in 2012.

    12. Hal, Columbus, Ohio says:

      Maybe we need to replace every damaned House and Senate Member who is not a freshman. I think we need to also fired every federal employee to has ever held an elected seat or has worked for an elected official. The message need to be sent loud and clear.

    13. Justin, Washington D says:

      Didn't Coburn vote FOR the CR? So, he voted in favor of the earmarks he didn't like? That's funny. Must be fun to vote FOR something, and then bad mouth it in the media after the fact. Best of both worlds. Keep having your cake and eating it too Tommy Boy.

    14. Frank Middleton Ariz says:

      Seem like corruption is a dominant trait of being a politician. After the 2010 election one, with common sense, would expect the politicians to at least curb some of their blatant disrespect for the constitution and the people of the United States.

      It appears the message has basically been put in the "file 13" category and these parasites continue with "business as usual" to achieve their ultimate goal of destroying our economy.

      It appears both parties are totally incapable of understanding basic math or how the economy works. Two plus two does not equal $105 billion for obamacares' implementation, or millions of unauthorized dollars for pet (vote buying projects which ultimately put dollars in the pockets of the politician.

      In my world 2 + 2 = 4 regardless of how many times or ways I try to make it equal more.

      The Tea Party is not over and we have another election in 2012. I expect we will see many more corrupt politicians exit Washingto DC.


    15. Virginia Klein NY says:

      Why couldn't many of President Obama's Czars be eliminated. He has many

      to many compared to the previous president, President Bush. He should be

      willing to cut his budget too.

    16. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      Only essential things should be funded from now until next budget takes effect. We need to keep our armed forces fed and clothed as well as armed in Iraq, Afganistan, keep forces out of Lybia and other countries. Cut any funding to States, other than federally required, and STOP paying other countries to fix their problems. We have our own problems here in USA and BHO goes around giving and pledging money to anyone that comes along. As for Japan, no federal money should be used, Red Cross and other humantarian org. will collect enough. Obamacare's secret funding should be cut off. I keep a budget for my home and I know what I can spend, what I need to keep on hand for emergencies and that if I don't keep these things straight I'll be in trouble, either checks will bounce and cost me $35.00 a clip or I won't be able to pay all my bills and then face repo or cut off's, the Gov't. should run on same principle.

    17. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      The devil is always in the details! I think "What a marvelous proof of Criminal Intent, the Demo-crats set us up for Bankruptcy and they are fiercely fighting against the cure! The Intent to Bankrupt! I thank you for exposing some of the Sorcery (deception above the People's heads.) If Heritage Foundation doesn't do this work, nobody will. Tricks like this have undermined American confidence in Government.

      It would be "Hate Speech" to expose the hateful truth about the Progressive Agenda. Politically then, we have Unspeakable Truth which I see as a violation of Free Speech! How wonderfully Criminal that is, how marvelously dark and twisted! I'm calling it Sorcery because that is exactly what it is! Then realize how terrible it is that our Citizen Sovereignty has been made Unthinkable! What's not to hate?

    18. Tom / Georgia says:

      Do any of you seriously believe that the federal debt will be repaid some day? It will never happen. The semi-organized crime syndicates who we have for political parties and who we have for a federal government in Goofyville on the Potomac know it will never happen.

      By their nature, governments are cleptoparasitic institutions whose lifestyle is to steal from a value producing host population as a means for survival. We, the people owe us the people and it has been "our" representatives in "our" Congress who contracted for our indebtedness and for our economic enslavement to "our" owner, Uncle Scam.

      Get used to it and get over it. Not even Abe Lincoln believed that we had a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But the statement did made for good political theater.

    19. Bobbie says:

      Mr. President, you promised "no earmarks." But you promise alot you aren't willing to follow through. Just words and the exact reason you are not trusted by the good of the American people.

    20. ROY S. MALLMANN II says:

      If the Republican, Democrat and Independent lawmakers do not cut the earmarks and trim the budget drastically as we asked, you will be the next ones out of office. Since the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT was founded a sea change has occurred. You will never put the genie back in the bottle again. WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and millions of us have joined as the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT. Before, we were the "Silent Majority". We have gone along with a lot of things before in the interest of live and let live, but NO MORE! Obama and his communistic Socialistic minions have ended that. We came close to losing our country until Scott Brown was elected.. Mr. Boehner,…get with the program. If you do, we will protect you. If you don't you will go. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

    21. curtis nunley combin says:

      I called my congressman Jeb Hensarling about this article. I told his aid that after the Tea Party put the republicans back in charge of the house they went right back to the same old game that got themselves defeated in 2006. I'm with you. I say its time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on getting these lieing thieves out of office. The Tea Party needs to get busy we only have 19 months til the next election.

    22. Col (ret) Duane Hard says:

      Here is one the biggest "hidden earmarks": We taxpayers were forced to bailout the incompetent GM; pay a bribe to the union bosses and now we ( the tax payers) are buying all of the GM vehicle for every federal agency. We have an entire parking lot full of them at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the leaders are driving around in fuel guzzeling SUVs. I wonder if our folks at the Heritage Foundation could request a Freedom of Information Request to OMB and find out just how many GM vehicles we've been forced to buy. After all, the $ those federal agencies are spending is OUR tax money. First we bail them out; then we are forced to buy their products.

    23. Brett - MO says:

      I just want to take the opportunity to thank all the baby boomers for everything they have done for "future generations." Fiscal crisis, widespread chemical contamination of our environment, a dysfunctional education system, an inept government, idiotic foreign policy, the continuance of bigotry, Medicaid bankruptcy, Social Security insolvency, concentration of wealth into 2% of the population, lower standards of living, etc etc (I could go on a long time). On behalf of my generation, the GenXers, and the millennials I want to offer my appreciation. I took a great deal of blindness and incompetence to get us into this mess, that is difficult for me to fully grasp. Each of you has contributed, whether you know it or not. No reason to shy away from your responsibility.

      I also appreciate your concern for "future generations" who will fixing all the mistakes you made. It is just so heart warming to hear you folks expressing your genuine concern. It is also great that you have found a milk crate to stand on in the form of the T party (T for tools). Your constant whining has grown louder – we couldn't be more pleased. Your push for compound our problems is a balm for our troubled souls that painfully erodes away our futures.

      Rest assured that when your time comes the top-notch medical system will ensure that your suffering will be prolonged and drawn out much longer than needs be. Only the best end of life treatment for everyone of you. We are happy to pay for it. Also note, things will get better after you depart, so don't worry about us "future generations".

      Your parents were the greatest generation. You will all be remembered with the honor and prestige that you deserve. You certainly have earned it.

    24. Jackie Lynn Metairie says:

      What can we ordinary citizens do to stop this madness in congress? We worked to put conservatives in and now some of them aren't doing what they promised to do.

    25. Zack says:








    26. Bobbie says:

      can you read Zack?! ALL EARMARKS! can you comprehend? ALL EARMARKS! YOURS, MINE AND OURS… ALL! can I be any clearer? ALL! The president is the head so I RESPOND TO HIS EXACT WORDS! Please let Gabriel know, I took his advice in not holding my breath! UNDERSTOOD ZACK?!

    27. Corky, Howey in the says:

      Harry Reid is still up to his tricks. Until we can rid ourselves of these sell serving Gangs, yes, I said Gangs, running our Congress we will have Lies, cheating, stealing, a crooked president, and a government that is out of control. I can see where the democrats are going to be completely votes out of existence..Wouldn't that be great…no more liberal democratic party?

    28. Zack says:

      very excited and anxious to hear more beautiful talking points!!!

    29. Zack says:

      uh oh, will I hear the infamous "cnn is liberal though" talking point? :)

      you guys are just about finished so deal with it.

      message to all conservatives nationwide: IT'S OVER JOHNNY!

    30. Peter, Laguna Niguel says:

      Thank you to the Heritage Foundation for keeping the taxpayers informed. It is hard to believe what is the truth, especially with government, but if these wasteful earmarks discussed above are true, it really makes me wonder what is Congress doing? I see too many bills which spend more money and make more regulations, rather than really focusing on cutting the debt. How much longer does Congress need to start making changes? They need to cut wasteful spending, stop fighting wars which are not our concern, and put forth money and focus to help the US create new technologies for us to be less oil dependent and create a clean energy. Congress seems to be making the same decisions they have made over the last 50 years. Well, that won't work, and look at the trouble it has gotten us into.

    31. Pingback: Unconstitu?tional Spending Kills the Economy

    32. I am pretty sure this subject matter was seen on 60 minutes

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