Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) strongly defended earmarks in a floor speech on Tuesday, refuting critics who claim that the pet projects are another example of Congress not being transparent.

"Earmarks are transparent," Paul said, arguing that the American public knows where earmark money is being allocated.

Paul, a fierce critic of government spending, pointed out that many lawmakers have complained about how the first half of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout was spent.

"We need more earmarks," Paul said. "We should have earmarked everything [in the financial rescue bill]."

- Bob Cusack