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Earmarkers feast on pork one last time before diet

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The spending barons on Capitol Hill, long used to muscling past opponents of bills larded with pet projects, are seeking one last victory before tea party-backed GOP insurgents storm Congress intent on ending the good old days of pork-barrel politics.

You might call it the last running of the old bulls in Congress.

In the waning days of the lame duck congressional session, Democrats controlling the Senate — in collaboration with a handful of old school Republicans — are pushing to wrap more than $1.2 trillion worth of unfinished budget work into a single "omnibus" appropriations bill.

Their 1,900-plus-page bill comes to the floor this week stuffed with provisions sought by lawmakers. It contains thousands of pet projects, known as earmarks, pushed by Democratic and GOP senators alike — despite a pledge by Republicans to give up such projects next year.

"That omnibus bill will be loaded down with earmarks and pork barrel spending, which is a direct — a direct — betrayal of the majority of voters on Nov. 2 who said 'Stop the earmarking, stop the spending, stop the pork barrel projects,'" protested Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


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