The temporary budget resolution that cleared Congress this week is notable in part because it eliminates all Congressional earmarks. Senator Mark Warner put his name to many earmark requests in his first two years, but as News/Talk 960’s Evan Jones reports, the senator has changed course.
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Warner sponsored or co-sponsored more than 80 earmark requests topping $600 million, including a $4 million request last year for Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics. Warner says senators are in a better position to know the needs of their constituents than full-time Washington bureaucrats, and he says earmarks represent just a tiny fraction of the current federal deficit. But Warner is aware they’ve become symbolic to many of excessive government spending and abuse of process, and he does not like instances in which some suddenly show up with no senators’ names attached to them. Warner was one of only seven Senate Democrats to vote last November for an earmark moratorium. He did not prevail, but the budget resolution passed yesterday cuts all earmarks — about $4 billion worth. And Warner says now that he’s already voted once against them, he will not submit any more earmark requests in the future.