I’ve always told you that earmarks cost a lot more than the nominal amount of the earmark alone. They are used as leverage to get members of Congress to vote for bloated spending bills they would otherwise not support.
Here is undeniable proof:
This is a direct quote from Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey (D-WI):
Mr. OBEY. I know there are some people in this Chamber who believe that if this bill goes down, if the President vetoes it, that somehow a way will be found to compromise and still protect these earmarks.
I want to make it clear, I have been told many times by the White House that they have no intention whatsoever of compromising on this or any other bill that exceeds the President's wishes. If that is the case and if this bill goes down, then the only alternative left to us will be to bring in a bill at the President's level of funding.
I would ask every serious-minded person in this body, if they really think there is a chance of a snowball in Hades that Members' earmarks on either side of the aisle will survive if we wind up at the President's level of funding, I think you understand that is not likely. And so I think the fate of all of the work that has gone into this bill, the fate of every project that Members have been concerned about is in your hands.
I yield back the balance of my time.
What is happening here is that Chairman Obey is trying to encourage people to vote for an appropriations bill worth $606.4 billion; in order to save various earmarked projects worth millions.