The Pork Goes On

If Congress is trying to find ways to fund a bailout, perhaps they should start with the Omnibus Spending Bill.

Senate leaders wringing their hands over where to find $700 billion for the Wall Street bailout might start with the fine print of the omnibus bill: The measure includes more than $6.6 billion in pork-barrel spending.

The 2,000-plus earmarks fill 752 pages attached to the 357-page spending bill. Sen. Ted Stevens, notorious for his huge earmark requests, scored the largest haul—some $238.5 million in earmarks.

In the U.S. House, Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.) brought in the most earmarks—more than $111 million, including $24.5 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center, an organization critics say is rife with mismanagement.

Democrats rushed the spending bill to the floor on Wednesday, giving Republicans and outside watchdog groups only a few hours to review the measure before a House vote. Critics complained that the process lacked the transparency for earmarks that Democrats promised when winning the majority in the House. But with the nation riveted by the Wall Street crisis, the spending bill and its earmarks made few ripples before passing with bipartisan support.

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