The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 3/5/9

While congressional earmarks have sizzled as a political issue recently, Mississippi’s two Republican U.S. senators continue to be ardent participants and defenders of the process.

A probable Senate vote Friday on a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill could determine the fate of nearly $80 million in funds earmarked by Mississippi’s delegation for the state.

Earmarks, simply stated, are congressional provisions directing approved funds to be spent on specific projects.

In the omnibus bill, Sen. Thad Cochran leads all other senators in the number of earmarks: 65 totaling $75 million for Mississippi projects. Sen. Roger Wicker made nine earmarks for $4.3 million.

When Wicker was the 1st District Congressman and a seven-term member of the House Appropriations Committee, he and Cochran, now in his sixth term, were the leading earmark users in Congress.