Fiscal 2010 spending bills contain 9,499 earmarks worth $15.9 billion according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Many earmarks are inserted into legislation by a single lawmaker to benefit his or her local district, without a single cosponsor.
House Republicans agreed unilaterally in March 2010 to give up earmarks for one year. Senate Democratic leadership announced a ban on budget earmarks to for-profit entities, which would have eliminated about 11% of this year's earmarks, but perhaps not ""shadow nonprofits" that exist to funnel money to private contractors". (Wall Street Journal, "Earmarks in Reverse", March 17, 2010)
Earmarks are a small percentage of total federal spending, but cause much greater amounts of wasteful spending. The more earmarks in a bill, the more votes it will get. Without earmarks, a bill will stall and die.
"Numerous ... members of Congress have been investigated for taking campaign contributions in return for earmarks." (Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) "Earmarks: Corrupting and Wasteful, Letters, Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2010)
Earmarks perpetuate incumbents.
"The day after Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and ten other House members compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass health care reform, the “Stupak 11″ asked for more than $4.7 billion in earmarks – an average of $429 million worth of taxpayer money for each lawmaker." (blog.heritage.org, March 29, 2010)
"Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has offered legislation to provide a presidential line-item veto to torpedo items deemed wasteful." (Washington Post, February 18, 2020)