Washington (CNN) - In an effort to create more jobs and improve transportation, the Obama administration announced a new "Use It or Lose It" program Friday, making nearly $500 million in unspent earmarks available for states to use on so-called "shovel ready" infrastructure projects.
From 2003 to 2006, Congress set aside $473 million in earmark transportation funds that have never been spent.
Washington (CNN) – A year after Congress voluntarily agreed to give up earmarks - pork barrel spending projects critics say cost too much and may have an outsized influence on some lawmakers - the special-interest provisions have crept slowly back into legislation, two senators warned on Wednesday.
"There is an effort under way to go back to earmarking as usual, as it used to be," said Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pennsylvania. "I think that would be a disaster for our country and our congress and we intend to do our very best to prevent that."
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who oversees Senate spending bills as chairman of the appropriations committee, announced Tuesday a two-year moratorium on earmarks.
Despite his long support for such congressionally directed spending, Inouye acknowledged that with President Obama and the Republican-controlled House opposed to earmarks, it would be fruitless for the Senate to include them in its bills.
(CNN) – Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain sounded off on issues being debated in the lame duck Congressional session during an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Thursday night.
Appearing on CNN's John King, USA Thursday night, McCain had choice words for fellow members of his party that plan to vote in favor of the spending bill that contains Republican earmarks. Calling the bill a "monstrosity and atrocity" Mccain stated, "It is a bipartisan plague, and we have Republican senators who may vote in favor of this atrocity.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry gave a full-throated defense of earmarks Thursday and criticized some Republicans for seeking them in a pending government-funding bill despite a recent pledge to ban them.
"Some people who speak out against congressionally directed spending or earmarks are people who have more earmarks than others. They're hoping, of course, it will pass and they can go home and do the press events as they've done with the stimulus money that we have gotten back to the states saying, 'Here I am, cut the ribbon, look what I did.' You can't have it both ways," Reid said at a news conference.
(CNN) - The Senate voted Tuesday against taking up a measure that would have imposed a two-year ban on legislative earmarks, a practice that critics have called an example of wasteful spending.
Legislators voted 56 to 39 in favor of considering a ban, but the measure needed 67 votes to pass. The senators were actually voting on whether to end debate on another matter to consider the earmark ban, but its defeat signals that senators are apprehensive about approving a ban - at least for now.
Washington (CNN) - With pressure mounting back home to curb government spending and cut deficits, the Senate will vote Monday night on a measure aimed at banning all legislative earmarks for the next two years, but multiple aides on both sides of the aisle say it's not expected to clear a 67-vote threshold required to pass.
Washington (CNN) – Democratic Party officials are blasting out emails accusing the Senate's second ranking Republican of backtracking on his pledge not to seek earmarks, but a closer look by CNN shows their accusations appear unfounded.
At issue – a $200 million project to provide drinking water for an Indian tribe in Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl's home state of Arizona.
Washington (CNN) - House Republicans agreed Thursday to continue their ban on requesting earmarks in the upcoming session of Congress.
The moratorium on pet projects will be written into the rules of the House when Republicans officially take control in January, therefore denying Democrats in that chamber the ability to receive such funds.
(CNN)–On the same day Senate Republicans will vote whether to voluntarily give up earmarks in the next Congress, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she wants the full Senate to vote on a binding moratorium that would include Democrats too.
"The arguments against this, every single one of them, I just don't think pass the smell test," she said about senators who oppose a ban and want to retain the ability to direct spending to home state projects.