Congress finds it nearly impossible to remove "earmarks" unless the money is going for a Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles.
Just about every bill Congress puts its paws on ends up containing language or money for pet projects, what are known as "earmarks." They are particularly prominent in big money bills like the FY 2007, a transportation-treasury-housing appropriations measure which the House passed last Wednesday.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who likes to kill earmarks, says this bill is full of them. According to Congressional Quarterly (CQ.com) reporter Kathleen Hunter, Flake offered eight amendments to remove earmarks from the FY 2007 spending bill. All of them failed.
But when Rep. Steve King (R-IA) offered an amendment to rid the bill of one particular earmark, it passed very quickly. According to CQ.COM, there was no debate at all. The earmark was to spend $300,000 on a multipurpose facility at a Los Angeles gay and lesbian center.