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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Press Releases

New Report: States Unprepared for Future Extreme Weather Events

November 18, 2015

New Report: States Unprepared for Future Extreme Weather Events   Press Release     National Summary On Wednesday, a new report was released... Read More

Our Take

The Rules Don’t Apply to Us

October 07, 2015

The Rules Don’t Apply to Us That may well be the rallying cry of the Pentagon budgeteers in the last dozen or more years. And they’ve been aided and abetted in this point... Read More

Our Take

Who’re You Calling a CR?

September 01, 2015

Who’re You Calling a CR? Given the Congress’ utter abdication of its Constitutionally-mandated power to decide how federal dollars will be spent, we are now less than... Read More

Our Take

Homeland Security in the House Appropriations Committee

July 17, 2015

Homeland Security in the House Appropriations Committee This week the House Committee on Appropriations took up the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).... Read More

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

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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

Alaska Kills Infamous ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that Helped Put End to Earmarks

November 09, 2015 | The Washington Times

Alaska officials have put the final kibosh on the infamous “bridge to nowhere” — a $400 million project tucked into the federal transportation... Read More

The Rise of the ‘Zombie Earmark’

October 21, 2015 | Politico

When Congress banned earmarks in 2011, House Speaker John Boehner said stripping lawmakers' ability to direct federal dollars to their pet... Read More

The Pentagon’s Budget

October 16, 2015 | Capital Insider

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have passed the 2016 NDAA, setting up a showdown with the White House. President Obama has called the bill... Read More

Floods Revive Debate over Federal Relief; South Carolina May Get Far Less than Sandy Aid

October 09, 2015 | NorthJersey.com

Flooding in North Charleston, South Carolina from rain due to Hurricane Joaquin. (Photo credit: North... Read More

2016 Defense Authorization Bill Avoids Many Budget Shenanigans

October 07, 2015 | U.S. News & World Report

The National Defense Authorization is the bill that sets policy for the Pentagon. This massive piece of legislation sets the table for the... Read More

Weekly Wastebasket

Our weekly reality-check for federal spending. View All

November 25, 2015

10 Ways Congress Can Earn Taxpayers’ Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving week. At Taxpayers for Common Sense, we thought we’d do what so many Americans do at this time... Read More

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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