When the House Appropriations Committee approved a supplemental appropriations bill last week to cover spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, it declared the bill to be free of earmarks. Yet, as the New York Times reported late last week, it does have some provisions that look an awfully lot like earmarks, including $35 million for NASA’s Stennis Space Center. (The NASA funding isn’t mentioned in the committee statement about the spending bill, but is presumably part of the “Gulf Coast Recovery” section.) The money isn’t considered an earmark as currently defined by Congress since it is going to a federal agency and not a local government or entity.
Over the weekend, President Bush singled out the NASA money and a couple other earmark-like additions to the appropriations bill in his weekly radio address, saying that such provisions “do not belong in an emergency war spending bill.” But then, the president has much bigger issues with the bill than a seemingly out-of-place $35 million for Stennis.