Have we passed the point of no return?
"Airdropping" is a way of adding earmarks to a bill during the conference report process at the last possible minute, effectively shielding the earmarks from reproach due to the lack of time for review before a vote on the floor. Many times, these reports are hundreds of pages in length and Members simply cannot thoroughly examine every page in less than 24 hours. This is a deliberate tactic to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money with complete anonymity and zero accountability. I have vocally opposed this practice as have many of my colleagues on both the House and Senate side.
However, despite the outcry from House Members and Senators, 54 earmarks worth $85 million have been added to conference reports for the three spending bills I listed above. Out of those 54 earmarks, 12 were sponsored by Freshman House Members or Senators in their first terms and 9 were requested and signed off by Senators up for re-election this year.