Baucus defends earmark process

"I urge you to join me in this effort to avoid the distractions of political stunts and find real solutions to bring good-paying jobs to Montana and get our economy moving again."

He also pointed out that the earmark reform put in place by Democrats in 2007 had reduced the practice from 2005 and 2006 levels by making all requests for funding public, attaching the lawmaker's name, the purpose of the earmark and a certification that the lawmaker will not benefit from the funds. 

Baucus also ticked off several projects that federal funds have helped pay for in his state and said his state would struggle without federal help.

Federal funding made up 43.5 percent of Montana's general fund this year, fourth in the nation for most federal funding among states as a percentage of its total state budget, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers 2009. 

"Our ability to bring money home for these projects is particularly important to a rural state like Montana, and giving up our ability to do so with the earmark moratorium will hand over even more power to President Obama and larger states like California and New York," he said.  

"As representatives of Montana, we know the true value of projects like this to the people of our state. It’s our job to fight for them."