In his State of the Union address, President Bush blasted earmarking, the process by which special appropriations benefiting a limited cause or region are inserted into comprehensive spending bills. Bush said:
The people's trust in their government is undermined by congressional earmarks — special interest projects that are often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or debate. Last year, I asked you to voluntarily cut the number and cost of earmar ks in half. I also asked you to stop slipping earmarks into committee reports that never even come to a vote. Unfortunately, neither goal was met. So this time, if you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I'll send it back to you with my veto.
A couple of months ago, U.S. News carried an extensive interview with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who is leading the fight against earmarks in the Senate. An advocacy group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, tracked earmarks in last year's Labor and Health and Human Services appropriations bills.