The Hill, 3/20/9

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who secured millions of dollars in special projects for his state in the recently passed omnibus bill, says criticisms of the pet projects are “poppycock.”

Cochran not only brought home plenty of earmark bacon in the $410 billion bill, he played a major role in helping his colleague Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) — who is not an appropriator — score big as well. Even though Senate Democrats are comfortably in the majority, Cochran and Wicker were the top two Senate earmarkers in the omnibus bill, according to a study by the Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).

Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, and Wicker said their earmarks are appropriate and necessary because the projects are fully vetted and are creating sorely needed “opportunities” that Mississippi otherwise would never receive.