Stevens, Inouye top defense earmarks list at over $180M each; Byrd next at $166M

Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) are among the biggest winners in the 2008 Appropriations defense bill, according to data gathered by The Hill and the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
Senate appropriators disclosed about 936 earmarks worth a combined $5.1 billion in the 2008 defense-spending bill, with top committee members in both parties securing the highest dollar amounts. 

The number disclosed this year by the Senate is $1.5 billion less than last year. In fiscal 2007, the Senate had $6.6 billion in disclosed and undisclosed earmarks, according to TCS. Such a reduction still falls short of the Democrats’ initial claim that they would significantly slash earmarks for fiscal 2008.

Stevens tops the list with $189 million in individual project requests. The veteran appropriator, who is under federal investigation, also shares  $24.7 million in earmark requests with Alaska’s other senator, Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (R). 

Among Stevens’s requests are $44.2 million for access to the Joint Tanana training complex in his state; $10 million for so-called “utilidors” — an above-ground, insulated network of pipes and cables — at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska; and $2 million for hibernation genomics.

While many of Stevens’s earmarks benefit his state, he also requested $6 million for a preventive medicine pilot program, as well as another $5 million for prostate disease research, both programs at the Army’s Walter Reed hospital.

The defense panel’s chairman, Inouye attached his name to $183 million worth of earmark requests. Inouye also has several requests with Hawaii’s other senator, Daniel Akaka (D), such as $6.5 million for a high accuracy network determination system.

Among Inouye’s largest requests are $27.5 million for the Hawaii federal healthcare network; $24 million for the Maui space surveillance system; $16 million for Pacific airborne surveillance and testing; and $7.5 million for the Pacific-based joint info-tech center.

Byrd, the dean of Appropriations, follows closely with $166 million in pork projects, boasting perhaps the largest single request: $60 million for the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) located in Mineral County, W.Va. The money would fund the ongoing replacement of buildings that date back to World War II in the facility, which is owned by the U.S. Navy. Alliant Techsystems, also known as ATK, leases the Navy’s ABL facility.

Byrd also requested almost $4.2 million for the joint interagency training center and sponsored $30 million worth of earmarks with several other senators from different states.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations ranking member, Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.), has $76.5 million in individual earmark requests. Among his pork projects are $14.1 million for the Pentagon’s corrosion program for advanced spacecraft technology; $3.9 million for naval oceanographic office charting; and $6.1 million for a homopolar hybrid drive for the Navy’s DDG-51 destroyer.

Cochran also cosponsored almost an equivalent chunk of earmarks, $78.6 million, with Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and a $41.7 million project with Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Sessions fires back at Trump over recusal: 'I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did" Sessions defends recusal, says it was meant to protect Trump MORE (R-Ala.) for an advanced hypersonic weapon technology demonstration. He is also one of six cosponsors of a $480 million plus-up for an alternate engine for the F-35 fighter jet.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Senate to try to pass fix for Paycheck Protection Program Thursday MORE (D-Ill.) boasted $152.3 million in federal funding to assist defense-rated facilities and projects across Illinois. Several of Durbin’s project requests have been shared with presidential hopeful Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHow a global 'Manhattan Project' could end pandemics The big tent: Unifying America Minnesota health officials say graduation ceremony exposed people to coronavirus MORE (D-Ill.), such as $4 million for a wound-healing program; $4 million for fuel cells for a mobile robotics systems project; and $2.3 million for a flexible solar cell for man-portable power generators.

Sen. Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D-S.D.), who until recently was sidelined as he recovers from a brain hemorrhage, has been able to secure a hefty amount of earmarks for his state. In a press release, the senator said he has been able to secure $47.2 million for defense-related projects in his state. Many of the earmark requests have been made with Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOn The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K Senate leaves for break without passing Paycheck Protection Program fix McConnell in talks with Gardner to allow Senate to take Memorial Day recess MORE (R-S.D.). Johnson is up for reelection in 2008.

While senators disclosed $5.1 billion in earmarks, it is likely that they requested even more via regularly undisclosed projects. For example, the House Appropriations Committee disclosed $3 billion in earmarks, but TCS was able to find another $3.5 billion in undisclosed projects, bringing the value of total earmarks up to $6.5 billion.

Among the Senate bill’s highest plus-ups are $480 million to build an alternate engine on the multi-service, multi-engine F-35 (a six-member request); $470 million for advance material procurement for a second Virginia-class submarine (a nine-member request); and $150 million for a peer-reviewed breast cancer research program (a 59 member request).

Senate appropriators disclosed the project requests in the report to the military spending bill, but that report has not yet officially been filed because the Appropriations Committee is still working on changes to a manager’s amendment package.