Earmarks & AppropriationsEarmarks & Appropriations

Congressional earmarks are one of the best examples of how Congress’ appetite for parochial spending led the nation into our current budgetary hole. Too often, lawmakers have based federal spending decisions on the needs of narrow private interests, rather than appropriating funds...More

only for effective, efficient programs that deliver taxpayers the greatest value. Though technically banned, earmark spending still exists in different forms, and is just one of many ways Congress sidesteps responsible budgeting and spending.

Although Congress is responsible for our nation’s finances, it continues to fail in its national budgeting, as evidenced by a national debt larger than our entire economy. The way forward lies in the legislative and executive branches working together to establish clear and transparent criteria and metrics for spending. They must ensure that all spending decisions are based on merit, competition, or well-designed and effective formulas.

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Our Take

Senate Approves FY 2016 Energy and Water Spending Bill

May 27, 2015

Senate Approves FY 2016 Energy and Water Spending Bill The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY2016 Energy and Water spending bill on Thursday, May 21st, after a markup where lawmakers... Read More

Our Take

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter Is Singing Our Song

May 07, 2015

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter Is Singing Our Song They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If so, the Talking Heads were pleased to see this quote from the Secretary of Defense... Read More

Our Take

House Passes FY2016 Energy and Water Spending Bill

May 04, 2015

House Passes FY2016 Energy and Water Spending Bill After being introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday, April 27 and a week of segmented debate, the fiscal year (FY)... Read More

Our Take

Subcommittee Passes FY2016 Energy & Water Spending Bill

April 15, 2015

Subcommittee Passes FY2016 Energy & Water Spending Bill Our Take: House Energy and Water Spending Bill FY2016 Passed by Appropriations Subcommittee On April 15th, the House Appropriations Energy... Read More

Our Take

Senate Budget Committee Holds Hearing on The Benefits of a Balanced Budget

March 23, 2015

Senate Budget Committee Holds Hearing on The Benefits of a Balanced Budget At a March 11th Senate Budget Committee hearing on the benefits of a balanced budget, lawmakers discussed government waste, corporate welfare,... Read More


TCS Statement on the Senate Passing the CROmnibus spending bill

December 14, 2014

TCS Statement on the Senate Passing the CROmnibus spending bill Saturday night the Senate voted 56-40 to pass the CROmnibus. As we have documented (and will continue to document) this bill has many flaws,... Read More

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Reports & Data

Superstorm Sandy Spending Report, Two Years Later

October 28, 2014

Wednesday, October 29th marked the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting the east coast and provided another opportunity to examine... Read More

Reports & Data

Earmark and Appropriations Data

October 29, 2013

Earmark Data Even under an existing moratorium, earmarks have received a lot of attention in the media, in Congress, and around the water... Read More

Reports & Data

Sandy Supplemental Data

February 12, 2013

As Washington debates the merits of a supplemental spending bill in response to superstorm Sandy, this database lists of all the spending in... Read More

Reports & Data

Analysis of Selected Provisions in Hurricane Sandy Emergency Spending Proposals

December 17, 2012 > Updated: January 10, 2013

Update January 10, 2013: We’ve combed through the House Appropriations Chairman Rogers Sandy Supplemental bill (HR 152 and his amendment... Read More

TCS appearances in the media in Earmarks & Appropriations

The familiar dance for funding

June 22, 2015 | Philadelphia Inquirer

WASHINGTON - Along with the pomp and pride that comes with hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention, there's an underside for... Read More

House Kills Earmark Requiring Defense Department to Purchase Pennsylvania Coal

June 11, 2015 | Bloomberg BNA

June 11 — A long-standing earmark requiring the Defense Department to purchase millions of dollars of Pennsylvania coal and ship it over 3,000... Read More

After Speakership, Hastert Amassed His Millions Lobbying Former Colleagues

June 01, 2015 | The New York Times

WASHINGTON — J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history, was swept from leadership in 2006 on a wave of... Read More

How Congress Hopes to De-Earmark Trade Earmarks

May 20, 2015 | The Washington Post

Caught in the crossfire of a ban on earmarks are little-known, specialized tax breaks members of Congress long secured for businesses back... Read More

Fillet Wasteful Catfish Inspections

May 15, 2015 | U.S. News & World Report

When it comes to saving taxpayer dollars, sometimes Congress has a hard time grabbing the low-hanging fruit, even when it's sitting on the... Read More

Weekly Wastebasket

Our weekly reality-check for federal spending. View All

April 17, 2015

Silencing Sequester Scaremongers

Before getting into the substance of this wastebasket, a little history is in order. In the wake of the 2010... Read More

The President’s Budget for FY2015

The President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 is out. Get the facts and see our analysis.

Our Take