Open Season

Can you smell the bacon? Today is opening day of appropriations season; Wednesday’s behemoth is the $18.4 billion Agriculture appropriations bill and Thursday’s beast is the ever important Interior-Environmental Protection Agency spending bill (such a great use of $25.9 billion). Luckily, there are some wiley earmark hunters gearing up to pick off the waste in the bills; however, hunting pork is much more difficult than hunting wabbit. Peter Cohn, of CongressDaily explains:

Flake’s spokesman declined to provide details so as not to alert earmark sponsors of his floor strategy. But he said Flake has prepared roughly a dozen amendments each to the Agriculture and Interior spending bills that would block the agencies from spending money on particular projects. Preliminary lists of earmarks conservatives might target include $668,570 for diet nutrition and obesity research in New Orleans, and $1.5 million for an entrance to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., both in the Agriculture bill. Interior-EPA earmarks that could face Flake’s scalpel include $300,000 for ivory-billed woodpecker research and $200 million for clean water infrastructure projects the White House did not request. Despite a push for more disclosure required by the recently passed House lobbying bill, there is no listing of earmark sponsors in the committee reports accompanying the bills. Asked why the Appropriations Committee was not providing the list, as the lobbying bill would require, Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered only a “no comment” Tuesday.