Alaska Sens. Murkowski, Begich decry earmarks ban

The Anchorage Daily NewsFebruary 2, 2011 

Both of Alaska's senators said Tuesday they were disappointed the top Senate appropriator was calling for a moratorium on earmarking, the practice that has directed billions of dollars in federal spending to Alaska.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski both said they agree there's a need to cut federal spending, but neither thinks an end to earmarks is the way to do it.

"I have said many times before, Alaska is a young state with many needs, and we deserve our fair share of federal funding to develop our resources and our infrastructure," Begich said.

Murkowksi, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said she believes it's up to Congress to determine spending. By leaving the executive branch to determine such appropriations, they're ceding power to the White House, she said.

"We are in essence abdicating our constitutional duties, giving cabinet departments and federal agencies the sole power, authority and ability to target and spend taxpayers’ money," she said.

The proposed ban by the Senate Appropriations Committee came after President Barack Obama pledged last week in his State of the Union address to veto any bill with earmarks. As a result, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Tuesday that he would ban the practice for the next two years.

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