The top earmarkers in both the House and Senate are Republicans, even after the GOP has spent much of the past year making fiscal restraint and runaway
government spending the centerpiece of its political message.
Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) — both atop defense spending panels — led their respective bodies in securing earmarks, according to
an analysis by the nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Young, the ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, helped secure 63 earmarks worth $128 million. Cochran, his counterpart in the Senate,
had his hand in 242 earmarks worth nearly $498 million. In the House, Young was
followed by Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) with $121 million, Mazie Hirono
(D-Hawaii) with $116 million and Jim Moran (D-Va.) with $107 million. After
Cochran, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was No. 2 in earmarks with $392 million,
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) received $368 million in earmarks and Robert Byrd
(D-W.Va.) grabbed $292 million for his home state.
Democrats changed earmarking rules when they took control of Congress after the 2006 election, making earmark requests part of the public record. And in
appropriations bills, lawmakers were forced to put their names next to their
projects in the bill.
But the move hasn’t dramatically curtailed the number of earmarks. Congress spent $16 billion on pork-barrel spending in fiscal 2010 spending bills — a
slight increase over fiscal 2009, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Hawaii — represented by Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) — had the most earmarks per capita: $412 million for its nearly 1.3
million citizens. Wyoming had the least per capita and overall — $5.76