‘Pig Book’ Exposes Billions In Wasteful Spending By Congress

The annual “Congressional Pig Book,” published by Citizens Against Government Waste, reveals a staggering $22.7 billion in wasteful spending from last year’s budget. This report, a staple since 1991, catalogs thousands of earmarks—projects funded through the federal budget that often serve local interests rather than national priorities. This year, the book identifies 8,222 such projects, highlighting the persistent problem of pork-barrel spending in Congress.

Leading the charge in securing earmarks was Rep. Susan Collins (R-ME), who alone secured 231 earmarks worth $575.6 million. This amount surpasses that of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who had 185 earmarks totaling $466.4 million. A significant portion of these earmarks were allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers, which has received 7,566 earmarks costing $20.9 billion since 1996.

Despite efforts to limit such spending, including the 2014 Water Resources Development Act, which aimed to exclude earmarks for water projects, these projects continue to receive substantial funding. This highlights a broader issue of legislative adherence to fiscal discipline and policy regulations.

In an attempt to address this issue, Republicans instituted a ban on earmarks in 2010. However, this ban was lifted by Democrats in 2021. Subsequently, in December 2022, Republicans voted to retain earmarks in spending bills, marking a significant blow to efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary spending. This ongoing trend of excessive earmark spending calls for renewed efforts toward fiscal responsibility and greater accountability in government expenditures.