- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2022

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer is set to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the $1.5 trillion budget bill he helped negotiate for President Biden

Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, inserted nearly 154 earmarks totaling $258,344,824 into the 2,741-page spending bill. 

“After weeks of hard work, I’m pleased to report that this bipartisan funding package represents a robust and unapologetic investment in the American people,” said Mr. Schumer. “This funding bill is overflowing with very good things for our troops, for American jobs, for our families and for America.” 

An analysis of the bill revealed that Mr. Schumer’s nearly 19 million constituents are set to benefit significantly. For instance, the majority leader has secured $605,000 in taxpayer dollars for the construction of a greenhouse in New York.

Some of the earmarks specifically originated from Mr. Schumer, while others were ones he supported that originated from fellow New Yorkers in the House. In some instances, Mr. Schumer was even able to secure a larger chunk of money for federal projects in his home state than what the White House had requested. 

Most notably, Mr. Schumer arranged $5.9 million for a harbor park in Western New York. The sum was far greater than the $680,000 Mr. Biden proposed for the project. 

Overall, the budget includes 367 pages of earmarks from both Democrats and Republicans. Citizens Against Government Waste, a spending watchdog group, estimates there are more than 4,400 individual earmarks in the bill. 

Of the package’s $1.5 trillion total, roughly $8 billion goes to funding lawmakers’ pet projects. 

“While inflation hits a historic high today, Congress is pushing through one of the largest spending bills in history with $1.5 trillion of your dollars going toward politician pet projects,” said Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican who is leading an effort to strip the earmarks from the budget bill. 

Earmarks were banned when GOP took control of the House in 2010. After Mrs. Pelosi won the majority back in 2018, Congress kept the prohibition in place. Last year, when Democrats retained control with a razor-thin majority, they brought the practice back. 

In Mr. Biden’s first budget, Democrats and Republicans seized on earmarks to bring taxpayer dollars back home. 

Alaska Republicans, for instance, have inserted a provision into the bill appropriating $10 million to tear down an abandoned hotel in the city of Fairbanks. Rhode Island Democrats secured $1.6 million for Roger Williams Univerity to develop an “equitable growth of shellfish aquaculture industry” in the state.

“It’s totally pork-barreling,” said Thomas Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste. 

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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