Congressional appropriations committees are reportedly being inundated with requests for special earmarks in the transportation appropriations bill and other spending measures.
Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, cited the staff person for the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, who said the panel has received a staggering number of requests for projects. Earmarking requests have reached an average of 10 per House member so far, or at least 4,500 projects. The staffer was quoted as saying this level doubles the number of requests received last year, and is four times more than the requests made two years ago. Other appropriations subcommittees are reportedly experiencing similar increases in project requests.
Last year, billions of dollars in funding was earmarked for projects, which resulted in spending increasing by 8% in FY 2001. For transportation alone, over $2 billion in additional funding was appropriated for projects. In addition, virtually all of the available funding for discretionary programs was earmarked.
Fulfilling such requests may prove to be particularly difficult in FY 2002, considering Congress last week passed a budget resolution that provides slightly over 4% in spending increases.