Garrett Meyer • staff writer
Earmarks in the US Congress are the appropriations of federal funds for named projects specific to an individual congressperson’s state or district. An example includes the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” down to a single deal with a defense contractor. Earmarks are traditionally tacked on to bills, related or not, already moving through Congress. They serve to secure votes for the bill and allow Congress members to advance their districts’ specific fiscal interests, “bring home the bacon” to their constituents, and boost their odds of reelection. According to the group Taxpayers for Common Sense, earmarks cost US taxpayers $15.9 billion dollars in 2010. In March 2010, the House Appropriations Committee implemented rules to ban earmarks to for-profit corporations. There is debate on the rationale of these rules and the effectiveness of the ban.