“As Power Shifts in New Congress, Pork May Linger”

David Kirkpatrick:

Mr. Stevens, an 83-year-old Republican, and Mr. Inouye, an 82-year-old Democrat, routinely deliver to their states more money per capita in earmarks — the pet projects lawmakers insert into major spending bills — than any other state gets. This year, Alaska received $1.05 billion in earmarks, or $1,677.27 per resident, while Hawaii got $903.9 million, or $746.05 per resident, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks such figures.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, and many Democratic candidates have railed for months against wasteful “special interest earmarks” inserted into bills “in the dark of night.” Now their party’s electoral victories mean that Mr. Stevens will hand Mr. Inouye the gavel of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, which presides over the largest pool of discretionary spending and earmarks. But if the Democratic leaders are talking about “earmark reform,” that may be news to Mr. Inouye.

“I don’t see any monumental changes,” Mr. Inouye said in a recent interview. He plans to continue his subcommittee’s approach to earmarks, he said. “If something is wrong we should clean house,” he said, “but if they can explain it and justify it, I will look at it.”

business as usual.

Much more on earmarks, including significant Wisconsin activity here.

Wikipedia on earmarks.

Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl and Congressman David Obey (among others) continue to bring home the bacon – cha ching on our kid’s charge cards – :

  • 4.7M for military battery technology, mostly for Madison’s Rayovac (Kohl).
  • 2.4M for improvements to the Rice Lake Airport (Obey)
  • $260K for UW-Madison agricultural grazing research (Obey).

Wisconsin per capita “pork” spending is $47 (Massachusetts is 45) while Robert Byrd’s ongoing efforts to pave over West Virginia requires $327/resident.

Tammy Baldwin’s comments regarding earmarks.