H.R. 1105 Earmarks from Departed Members Database — Searchable and Sortable

A few days ago, we ran a story about how there are earmarks in H.R. 1105 requested by people who have left Congress since the bill was originally written last year. All in all, there are 465 totaling nearly $238 million.

But what are they all for? Well, today, you can see for yourself. We have created an excel database of all the earmarks from members who have since left Congress. The embedded database is after the jump. If you want to, share it with friends, send them here.

The database is fully sortable. Just click any of the arrows on the column names, and pick the data you want to see. For example, you can filter by representative or senator to see where the money is coming from.

Our apologies for the narrow width of the database. As our site receives a much needed facelift in the next few days, this problem will disappear.

If you would prefer to browse the database on your own computer, you can download it here: Download FY2009 Omnibus Earmarks (only missing members).

As a bonus, if you download the database, we have added some extra functionality not available in the Web-based version. The downloaded version will automatically count the number of earmarks matching your criteria and display the total cost.

Special thanks to Taxpayers for Common Sense, who compiled the original database of all earmarks in H.R. 1105. You can check it out at the TCS web site

After the jump and without further ado, the earmark database. Please be patient, as it may take a little while to load.

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H.R. 1105 delayed — Continuing Resolution Will Extend Government Funding Until Tuesday Night

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took the Senate floor a few minutes ago and announced that he was one vote short of being able to invoke cloture and proceed to a vote. He said the House would be passing a continuing resolution that would continue funding the government through Tuesday evening.

Reid said an agreement had been reached that would allow the Republicans to offer another 10 to 12 amendments. Previously, he had sought to limit the number of amendments in the interest of getting the bill passed by Friday night.
But the delicate compromise seemed to fall into jeopardy when  Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) threatened to block the agreement unless his amendment, which would mandate a vote for each future cost-of-living pay increase, was on the list of amendments. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) then noted the Republicans currently had 36 amendments, which prompted an annoyed response from Reid. 
After a short break from formal proceedings, Vitter dropped his objection, signaling the two groups had reached an agreement.
Right now, the final votes on the new amendments are schedule for Monday evening. But there are no guarantee that these new amendments will do any better than the previous ones — the 10 Republican amendments voted on in the past few days all failed. 
Is this a bad sign for H.R. 1105? Are we going to finish the fiscal year on continuing resolutions? Tell us what you think.

Their Incumbency is Ended (But Their Earmarks Linger On)

More than 50 members of the House of Representatives lost or gave up their seats in this past election cycle. And this year’s Senate sees 14 new faces replacing departing Senators.

But despite all these personnel changes, H.R. 1105 (the omnibus appropriations bill) bears the marks of the 110th Congress, not the 111th. Among the more than 9000 earmarks are several hundred from people who are no longer members of Congress.

An ICT analysis shows that in the Senate, nine departed senators have 108 earmarks totaling just over $73 million in spending. When excluding Norm Coleman, who is in the middle of a court challenge concerning his opponent Al Franken’s apparent victory, the total drops to 99 earmarks and approximately $72 million.

In the House, 366 earmarks from departed representatives cost just over $170 million. 

These figures ignore representatives who became senators, but they do include members of Congress who joined the Obama administration.

Even though the members have moved on, these earmarks remain valid. “Earmarks from former members are treated the same as earmarks from
current members,” House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Kirstin Brost said. “There’s no distinction.”

The earmarks persist because this bill is so long overdue — it was written last year and was “due” on October 1. But veto threats from then-President Bush held off its consideration until President Obama took office.

Leaving the earmarks from those who are no longer in Congress “was a decision that was made by [House Appropriations Committee chair] Mr. Obey,” said Jim Specht, press secretary for the committee’s ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis (Calif.). “They did it for both Republicans
and Democrats, and [Lewis] doesn’t have any issue with that.”

Specht further defended the earmarks, arguing, The earmarks support the districts, not the members.”  

Do you agree with Jim Specht that there is nothing wrong with these earmarks? Or should the new members be required to sponsor them? Tell us what you think.

Around Capitol Hill — H.R. 1105 Amendments and DC Representation Stall

Today was a rough day for getting anything passed on Capitol Hill, it appears. The Senate continued its consideration of H.R. 1105 (the omnibus appropriations bill) and voted down several attempts at modifying it.

The big one was S.AMDT 592, which was offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). In effect, the amendment would have transformed the appropriations bill into a continuing. As a result, current funding levels for all programs would remain unchanged.

The amendment failed 32-63. The margin is a dire portent for further attempts to modify the bill or reduce funding in other ways. The 32 yeas included just two Democrats, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), while the 63 nays saw eight Republicans join 55 Democrats. 

In a similar vein, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) offered a motion to send the bill back to committee with instructions to slash all funding down to current levels. That one did only slightly better than McCain's amendment, failing 33-61.

The third try was not the charm for Republicans either. Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-Texas) motioned to send the bill back to committee with instructions to trim funding down to current levels adjusted for inflation. It failed 40-55 in the final roll call vote today.

After the jump, a collection of Coburn amendments and DC representation stalls in the House.

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