Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) decision to release the earmark requests he has submitted this year has been met largely with the sound of crickets from his fellow Congressional candidates for the White House, almost none of whom as of press time had taken up the challenge and released their own.
On Wednesday morning Obama released a list of roughly 100 proposed earmarks that he had submitted to the Appropriations Committee this year. As would be expected, the requests are for largely benign items, ranging from funding for AIDS programs to Army Corps of Engineers projects in the Chicagoland area.
With the exception of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), all of Obama’s opponents for the presidency currently serving in Congress also make requests for earmarks during the annual appropriations process.
At press time, only spokespeople for McCain and Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) had responded to a request for comment from Roll Call. Spokespersons for Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), as well as Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) had not returned calls for comment.
A spokeswoman for Kucinich said he would not make his requests public and would only announce those earmarks approved by the Appropriations Committee. “We don’t make those public until they’ve been accepted,” the spokeswoman said.
Paul’s office, however, did release the 65 earmark request letters the lawmaker had submitted this spring to appropriators. As with Obama, Paul’s list is primarily small noncontroversial items, including transportation funds for local road projects and funds for port improvements in Galveston, Texas.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.