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Congress “Banned” Earmarks… but Guess How Much They Approved in 2016 Anyway

It’s no secret that Congress makes promises, then does the opposite behind closed doors. But the taxpayer cost of the congressional “earmark ban” is enough to make your head spin.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Congress approved more than $5 billion in earmarks for fiscal year 2016, despite its self-imposed ban, according to a new report released by Citizens Against Government Waste. “Pork-barrel spending is alive and well in Washington, D.C., despite claims to the contrary,” the nonprofit organization said. This year marks the 24th consecutive year Citizens Against Government Waste has exposed wasteful spending via earmarks in its “Pig Book,” and the fourth year since Congress banned the practice in 2010.

The amount of pork-barrel spending is up over 17 percent from last year, when the group identified earmarks totaling $4.2 billion, including pet projects for “fish passage,” “embryo adoption awareness,” and abstinence education. Pet projects that snuck their way through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 include $10 million for an energy program that completed its mission in 1981; $25 million for a Pentagon STEM program for kids; and $163.9 million for the “Fund for the Improvement of Education,” which President Obama did not request funding for in 2011 or 2012.

In all, the report identified 123 earmarks totaling $5.1 billion, a nearly 90 percent increase since fiscal year 2014, which Citizens Against Government Waste called “disturbing.”

Only Congress could ban earmarks and then actually increase their earmark spending by 17%. Earmarks are nothing more than kickbacks for members of Congress to vote on legislation they never would have voted to pass otherwise. Thanks to the Citizens Against Government Waste, taxpayers are aware of this waste, fraud, and abuse in the system. But the question is, what are voters going to do about it?

Tom Borelli

Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review and is a TV and radio commentator addressing political issues from a conservative grassroots perspective. As a columnist, he has written for ConservativeReview.com, The Washington Times and authored articles for Newsmax magazine. Dr. Borelli is also a regular political panelist on NewsmaxTV and i24 News he also co-hosts radio programs on SiriusXM Patriot with his wife Deneen Borelli. Dr. Borelli appeared on numerous television programs, including the highly ranked Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hannity,” “The Kelly File," and "America’s News Headquarters." He has also appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Making Money with Charles Payne” and “After the Bell” as well as TheBlaze TV’s "The Glenn Beck Program" and "Dana!" Prior to working for public policy organizations, Dr. Borelli was a managing partner with the investment advisory firm of Action Fund Management, LLC and a portfolio manager for the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF) where he used shareholder activism to challenge corporations that sought to profit from the growth of government. During his 25 years with the Altria Group, Inc., he built a foundation in public policy and issues management, drawing from diverse experiences ranging from basic research to corporate affairs. Dr. Borelli served as science fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology during the 100th Congress. Dr. Borelli has also published scientific papers on interferon and human leukemia.

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