The $626 billion Defense Appropriations bill signed into law by President Obama on Monday includes over $4 billion in earmarks, according to watchdog groups, a small drop from last year’s version but well short of the effort the White House had sought to curb the practice.
Earmarks are a practice of sticking superfluous spending into the bill targeting favored companies and favored districts. For instance Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Inouye (D-HI) sponsored a $23 million earmark for Hawaii’s healthcare program.
But while both the House and Senate padded the bill with their share of earmarks, they also decided to dictate different rules for the earmarks depending on which house they came from. House bills will be subject to competition in bidding, while Senate bills will not.
The Obama Administration’s complaints about the earmarks aside, the president ultimately decided not to veto the bill. It seems the business as usual practice of jamming the bills with pet projects will continue unfettered.