Earmark spending: it's only pork if its going elsewhere

April 11, 2014, 8:57 AM GMT+0

Americans tend to think that most members of Congress direct too much federal spending to home districts - except, that is, their own district

Since 2010 Members of Congress have been unable to attach amendments to bills that specify where, and how, federal money would be spent. These 'earmarks' had been condemned as a waste of public mone that enabled wasteful spending, such as the infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' which would have built a bridge in Alaska linking a village of 50 people to the mainland - at a cost of $398 million. Earmarks have their defenders, though, with some arguing that earmarks were the lubrication that allowed Congress to take difficult decisions and pass bipartisan laws and that the end of earmarks in 2010 made it far harder for Congress to get anything done.

The latest research from YouGov shows that, even now, Americans tend to think that Members of Congress direct too much federal spending to their home districts. 39% say that too much is directed home, while 14% say that the amount of earmarked money is about right. 18% say that it isn't enough.

When asked about their own Members of Congress, however, the picture is very different. 31% of Americans say that their Member of Congress doesn't direct enough money to their district. 24% say that they direct about the right amount, and only 16% say that too much earmarked money is spent in their district.

In general, Democrats tend to think that pork isn't a major issue. Only 24% say that, overall, too much money is directed to the home districts of Members of Congress, compared to 50% of Republicans and 44% of Independents.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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