BREAKING: Taxpayers Protection Alliance Uncovers $19.3 Billion in Earmarks in Defense Spending Bill

David Williams

September 18, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace Morgan
September 18, 2018 
(202) 855-4380

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the President prepares to sign the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 679 earmarks totaling $19.3 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 5.8 percent increase in the 642 projects requested in FY 2018 and a 35.2 percent decrease in total dollars from FY 2018.  

As Congress approaches the end of the fiscal year and prepares to head home for re-election, they face a harsh fiscal reality: the country is $21 trillion in debt and the Defense Appropriations Bill is filled with earmarks.  The following tables provide a breakdown of earmarks by which chamber originated them: 

Sum of Earmarks by Source









Percentage of Earmarks by Source









* Some earmarks did not have a stated chamber source; these earmarks are not included in the above tables. 

** As in the earmark master-list, S = Senate; H = House; B = Both; C = Conference.  

Many cost-prohibitive, wasteful programs made the top of the tally, including: $950 million for the Littoral Combat Ship, $740 million for the F-35, and $640 million for the C-130J.  In particular, news that the Pentagon “is trying to paper over serious problems” with the F-35 should be sufficient to stop program increases, but lawmakers are just getting started. Members of Congress continue to insert these dubious earmarks into Defense bills, despite little need or evidence that the spending makes America stronger.  Be sure to check TPA’s website for more information on individual projects.

TPA President David Williams blasted appropriators for rushing through the Defense spending bill and not fulfilling their pledge to ban earmarks. “Congress is up to their same old tricks by larding up the spending bill with billions of dollars in earmarks. Every dollar wasted on a Defense earmark is a dollar not spent on real Defense priorities.”  

Williams concluded, “Republicans and Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to control their appetite for earmarks.  The good news is that they will have the voters to answer to when they go home for re-election.”

You can see the full list of the 679 earmarks here.

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