New documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show that Montana’s Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus requested agency funding for 14 pet projects, just days after Congress passed an “earmark-free” spending bill earlier this year. Not to be outdone, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) asked for millions of dollars for a list of 17 projects.
But Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) beat them both with the sheer amount of money he requested. In a Feb. 20 letter to HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, Byrd wrote to “strongly urge” funding for seven West Virginia earmarks totaling $24 million. The list included $2.7 million for a bioengineering institute at the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center and $8 million for a variety of facilities as part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.
The HHS documents (which include funding requests from other lawmakers as well) were the latest responses to CIR’s many FOIA requests. We’ll continue to update the earmark resource page as documents roll in.