As Congress returns to funding earmarks, who will benefit?

HUFFMAN, Texas (AP) — Earmarks were banished from Congress over a decade ago, but the funding for lawmakers’ pet projects is marking a sudden return. About $14 billion, or 1% percent of discretionary spending, will be devoted to earmarks in this year’s spending bills. Aiming to avoid scandal, lawmakers have revamped and renamed the process, requiring that earmark requests be made public and that lawmakers attest to having no conflicts of interest. The experiment could rise or fall on the reaction from voters, particularly those skeptical of federal spending. Many Republicans are refusing to join in, characterizing earmarks as a kind of graft.