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9,000 earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill: Gang tattoo removal, Maine lobster, La Raza & more!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 23, 2009 11:11 PM

You want earmarks? There are lots and lots and lots of earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill coming down the road. Not that any of the people who are going to vote for it will actually read it, of course. If they did, they couldn’t look into the camera and sanctimoniously declare that, uh, you know, “There are no earmarks.”

The Modesto Bee reports:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

“We need earmark reform,” Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. “And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

President Barack Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot this week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that’s riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The bill will contain about 9,000 earmarks totaling $5 billion, congressional officials say. Many of the earmarks — loosely defined as local projects inserted by members of Congress — were inserted last year as the spending bills worked their way through various committees.

So while Obama and McCain were slamming earmarks on the camp aign trail, House and Senate members — Democrats and Republicans — were slapping them into spending bills.

“It will be a little embarrassing for the president if he signs a bill with that many earmarks on it,” said Stan Collender, a veteran Washington budget analyst.

Hill staffer Tom Jones is going through the omnibus spending bill with a fine-tooth comb, and Twittering his earmark findings, including:

* $200,000 for “Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program,” pg. 283;

*Maine lobster earmark in the omnibus, pg. 173;

*$5.8 million earmark for the “Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate…for the planning and design of a building & an endowment,” pg. 232;

*and National Council of La Raza, $473,000 earmark from Sens. Bingaman and Menendez, pg. 212.

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