Senate Democrats

Senate Republicans on Earmarks: Hypocrisy and Misplaced Priorities

This week, the Senate will consider an Omnibus appropriations bill[1] necessary to prevent a shutdown of the federal government.  This legislation also includes Congressionally-directed funding that directly benefits thousands of communities and millions of Americans in all fifty states.

Even though Republican Senators have historically been among the strongest and most vocal champions of such “earmarks,” many are now threatening to vote no on this bill in order to appease certain factions of the Republican party.  Moreover, Republicans are now using the deficit as an excuse to oppose $8 billion for Congressionally-directed funding, even though they did not care about exploding the deficit in order to fight for $830 billion in extra tax breaks for the wealthiest few.[2]
$8 billion for local projects (including aid for hospitals, battered women, law enforcement, foster children, job training for homeless families, small business incubators) $830 Billion in Extra Tax Breaks for the Wealthiest Few


Supposedly outraged Senate Republicans must have forgotten that Congressionally-directed spending requests have been online for six months, that this bill was put together in bipartisan fashion, and that Congressionally-directed spending has decreased by 75 percent since Democrats took control of the Senate.[3] In fact, it was Democrats who put a stop to the earmark abuse that festered while Republicans controlled the White House and Congress for six years.

Below are just a few examples of the recent Congressionally-directed funding that Republican Senators have sponsored.  Will the Senate GOP vote against the upcoming appropriations bill just to appease the right wing of their party – and despite that fact that doing so will kill valuable new funding for their constituents back home?


  • Children’s services provided by United Methodist Children’s Home of Alabama and West Florida in Selma, AL [FY2010]
  • Services for homeless families provided by the Jimmie Hale Mission in Birmingham, AL [FY2009]
  • After school math and science tutoring programs provided by the Cleveland Avenue YMCA, in Montgomery, AL [FY2009]


  • Fire/crash rescue station, in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base [FY2009]
  • Mobile prenatal clinic for the MoMobile program at the Saint Joseph’s Hospital, in Phoenix, AZ [FY2008]
  • Law enforcement initiative to target meth in the San Carlos Apache Reservation [FY2008]


  • Assistance for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, provided by the YWCA of Northwest Georgia [FY2009]
  • Douglas County Court Team for maltreated infants and toddlers, in Douglasville, GA [FY2010]
  • Small business incubator at the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA [FY2010]
  • A Child is Missing, to assist law enforcement in finding missing children in Georgia [FY2008]


  • Idaho State Police’s participation in the Criminal Information Sharing Alliance Network [FY2010]
  • Dental services for low-income children [FY2010]
  • Child neglect and abuse prevention at the Nez Perce Tribe [FY2009]
  • Educational materials for the Literacy Matters! Program [FY2008]


  • Dislocated worker training and job placement in financial services, health care, and construction [FY2010]
  • Multi-tier interdiction initiative to combat drug distribution networks [FY2009]
  • Coordinated care for abused and neglected infants and toddlers [FY2009]
  • Housing and vocational education program for older foster children [FY2008]


  • Severe weather warning sirens in populated areas of Henderson County, where no systems currently exist [FY2009]
  • Heart disease prevention initiative in rural Kentucky [FY2010]
  • Technology to assist trauma victims without immediate access to emergency medical care [FY2008]


  • Pre-natal clinic at the CHRISTUS St. Francis Cabrini Hospital, in Alexandria, LA [FY2009]
  • Community Nursing Elder Trauma Response Program demonstration project in Metairie, LA [FY2009]
  • Mobile unit for the Miles Perret Cancer Services, in Lafayette, LA, to use in rural areas [FY2009]

North Carolina

  • Program to combat domestic violence in Mecklenburg County, NC [FY2008]
  • Racial disparities and cardiovascular disease initiative at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC [FY2010]
  • Regional public safety communications systems, for use by the City of Fayetteville, NC [FY2010]

South Dakota

  • Meth reduction programs sponsored by the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office [FY2008]
  • Residential substance treatment center for women and their children in Sioux Falls, SD [FY2009]


  • Joint effort by the University of Memphis, Shelby County, the City of Memphis, and the State District Attorney General to deal with growing gang numbers and increased violent crime [FY2009]
  • Facilities and equipment at the Jellico Community Hospital in Jellico, TN [FY2010]
  • The Gang and Violent Crime Reduction Program at the University of Memphis [FY2008]


  • Homeless job training program in Bexar County, TX [FY2010]
  • Juvenile delinquency prevention by Kids Averted from Placement Services [FY2008]
  • Facilities and equipment including STAN fetal heart monitors at Harris County Hospital District, Houston, TX [FY2010]


  • Efforts to fill gaps in substance abuse treatment and transitional services in the state [FY2009]
  • Wyoming Meth Project for fighting the methamphetamine problem [FY2009]

[1] Senate Appropriations Committee, 12/14/10

[2] Center for American Progress, 7/29/10

[3] Senate Appropriations Committee