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Analysis: Could this be the return of earmarks?

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.4%. 1 min read.

Tech. Sgt. Thomas Cogis, assigned to the 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, is watching a vehicle taxi while multiple aircraft are on approach to land at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, September 22, 2020 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Cogis is working as the local control and monitors all local movements at the airport while his co-worker is responsible for the runway and any inbound or outbound air traffic communications. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover)

John Murtha airport is one of those destinations where your plane seems to trundle for hours over miles of taxiways before reaching the terminal. Its powerful radar, vast concrete apron, tall control tower and big jet runways all impress, remnants of a bygone political age, when local pols funneled millions of bucks to white elephants back home.

The airport memorializes the man who built it, a late and powerful congressman who steered tens of millions of dollars to his home district through "earmarks" — a device for lawmakers to add funding for pet projects to spending bills.

But when bills got laden down with "pork barrel spending," earmarks got a bad name, and it was good politics for the conservative House majority to outlaw them from 2011.

Now House and Senate Democrats are considering a return of earmarks so members get some credit for sending money home.

The White House warned Tuesday that "the world cannot afford to turn the other way" and vowed to do everything it could to respond to the Ebola spikes, before they become epidemics.

And this White House knows what it is doing: Chief of staff Ron Klain served as then-President Barack Obama's Ebola czar during an outbreak in West Africa that infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000 between 2014 and 2016.

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