Texas Has Done Well With Earmarks

Lawmakers often bring federal dollars to Texas through the controversial earmarking process. And a new study shows Texas has received billions of dollars over the past two decades. Manuel Quinones reports from Washington.
The Harvard Business School study crunched numbers between 1991 and 2008. And Texas was among the states that most benefited from special lawmaker requests or earmarks. It received more than 260-million dollars a year on average.

The state didn’t do so well per-capita — getting a yearly average of about 14 dollars per person. Compare that to more than 400-dollars per Alaskan.

Despite the growing controversy over the process — Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says earmarks are a plus for Texans. 

“I am elected by the people of Texas to make sure we get our fair share of federal spending. I believe we should call the overall spending budget.”


Experts say lawmakers with powerful leadership or committee roles can better bring home the bacon. Hutchison sits on the Appropriations Committee and is the top Republican on the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Among her requests is tens of millions of dollars for public transportation upgrades in Houston.

“I don’t think President Obama’s earmarks should take greater weight to a Member of Congress who is also elected by the people.”

In other words — many lawmakers say its right for them to have a say on how and where federal dollars are spent. But advocates and many voters have been turning against earmarks — calling them wasteful and unfair.

House Democrats have instituted a ban on earmarks that benefit for profit companies. Most House Republicans are participating in an all-out earmark moratorium. Congressman Ron Paul is not going along with that.

From Capitol News Connection, Manuel Quinones, KUHF News.