When it comes to nabbing
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).
Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million — and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others — Murtha’s 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
The House is expected to take up the $459.6 billion defense appropriations bill Friday. It contains 1,337 earmarks, costing $3.07 billion, which is less than half the number and value of earmarks in last year’s bill.
Keith Ashdown of TCS said, however, that the sum is derived from only the earmarks that the panel disclosed at the back of the bill’s report. He expects to find undisclosed projects as well.
Murtha, the defense industry’s darling, has been known throughout his tenure on the defense panel to shell out a large number of earmarks. His biggest earmark in the bill is $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), a move that sparked a fierce fight with Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who earlier this year voted in a private meeting to strip Murtha’s earmark.
The Bush administration requested $16 million to shut down the center, which is in Murtha’s district, because it replicated the work of a similar center.
Murtha’s second highest earmark is for $15 million for a military molecular medicine initiative.
Young has several requests valued at $5 million for projects such as ballistic missile range safety technology, the Common Aero Vehicle (another missile program) and rapid-response counter-measures to chemical and biological weapons.