The Senate is considering a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill — essentially a bill appropriating funding for the government for next year that contains more than 6,000 earmarks totaling $8 billion. And Florida has its share.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — who voted for a moratorium on earmarks that did not pass — earmarked $2.4 million for two projects for Cape Canaveral and $1 million for Cooperative Grouper-Snapper Fisheries Data Collection for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, among others. He requested 43 earmarks in total, which ranks him in the lower third of senators — 10 senators requested none, while Thad Cochran of Mississippi requested 230.
Outgoing Republican Sen. George LeMieux did not request any earmarks in this bill.
The bill is 1,924 pages long, and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has threatened to force the bill to be read aloud — effectively grinding the Senate to a halt when it has limited time before the end of the lame-duck session.
For comparison, last year’s bill had 9,400 earmarks worth a combined $10 billion. Earmarks, while often held up as a symbol of government overspending, account for less than one-half of 1 percent of federal spending.
Taxpayers for Common Sense has a list of some of the more expensive or otherwise notable earmarks in the bill, none of which include Florida legislators.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.