Earmarks 2.0: Plenty of Swag for Hawaii In Defense Bills

Civil Beat

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The end of earmarks and the loss of Hawaii’s senior U.S. senators might well have led to something bordering on an economic catastrophe for the islands, but the defense funding bills moving through Congress contain a fair amount of swag for a state that has long enjoyed its pork.

Last week, the House passed a bill with more than $400 million in military construction money. At the same time the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a bill for a similar amount, and it is headed to the full chamber. The House version, pushed by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, includes $72 million in loans for building ships. And, there’s language calling on the Navy to fund a certain type of research that — wink, wink — just happens to be a specialty of engineering firms in Hawaii.

The National Defense Authorization Act is supposed to be a spending bill, but it includes plenty of pet projects that have nothing to do with money for the military, and that are only tangentially related to national defense.

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