Outgoing Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) slipped $656 million worth of earmarks into the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill.
Congressional leaders dropped the $1.7 trillion, 4,155-page omnibus spending bill at 1:30 a.m. ET, giving lawmakers little time to digest the implications of the mammoth legislation.
While the bill may have many major reforms that are readily apparent, lawmakers also slipped hard-to-find earmarks into the bill. Many lawmakers, such as Shelby, are retiring and face few political repercussions for pushing a bill that contains many special interest carveouts and increases the deficit.
Shelby, as the longtime Senate Republican appropriations leader, had a particularly outsized influence in the drafting of the gargantuan legislation. Here are the earmarks he put into the bill:
- $13 million for the Abbeville Municipal Airport Runway Extension
- $26 million for the Tuscaloosa National Airport (TCL) Runway Extension
- $100 million for the Woosley Finnell Bridge
- $200 million for the Alabama State Port Authority Intermodal and Terminal Expansion
- $50 million for a Revolving Loan Fund to benefit the city of Mobile, Alabama
- $35 million for the Marion Military Institute
- $45 million for the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
- $2.6 million for the Deepening Study for Tennessee—Tombigbee Waterway (TTWW), AL and MS and Black Warrior and Tombigbee (BWT) Rivers; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $6.7 million for the Alabama River Lakes, AL; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $356 million for the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, GA, AL & FL; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- $7.25 million for the Black Warrior & Tombigbee Rivers (BWT), AL; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $7 million for the Dauphin Island Bay, AL; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $250,000 for the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, Lake Seminole, FL, AL & GA; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $2.25 million for The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, AL, for a permanent endowment fund to support the recruitment and retention of exceptional faculty in science and engineering.
- $35 million for the Spring Hill College, AL, for facilities and equipment
- $76 million for the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, AL, for facilities and equipment
- $50 million for the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, AL, for a permanent endowment fund to support the recruitment and retention of exceptional faculty in science and engineering.
The omnibus bill also designates the FBI facilities at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, as the “Richard Shelby Center for Innovation and Advanced Traning.”
Breitbart News’s Jacob Bliss reported last week that there are over 7,500 earmarks totaling $16 billion lawmakers are trying to slip into the omnibus spending bill.
Last year, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and 18 other Senate Republicans called earmarks an “inherently wasteful spending practice that is prone to serious abuse.”
In contrast, Shelby said, “I’ll be gone. I’ll be cutting the grass and running errands for my wife. They’d start all over. I wouldn’t get anything,” referring to what might happen if the omnibus bill is not passed during the current lame duck session.
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.
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