Senate congressionally directed spending requests reflect partisan divide | AEIdeas Blog
by Kevin R. Kosar | Zachary Courser
We examined the House of Representative’s reinstitution of member-directed spending, more commonly known as “earmarks,” in a recent post. Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its own list of member requests. The Senate, like the House, has done an excellent job of increasing the transparency of the process, making detailed information on requests available to the public in a timely manner.
Overall, 64 senators made 8,055 requests totaling $26.8 billion. Far fewer Republicans participated than Democrats. Only 16 GOP senators submitted requests, including a few senior members like Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), Budget Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD). Only two Democrats, Jon Tester (D-MT) and Margaret Hassan (D-NH) declined to participate. This is in marked contrast to the House, where 122 of 212 (57.5 percent) GOP members requested earmarks.
Zachary Courser is a visiting assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. Kevin Kosar is a senior fellow at AEI.