Where does "pork-barrel" spending come from?

A viewer asked this question on 5/4/2000:

I would seriously like to know why all the crap is added to every new bill that comes before the house? Why can't something be done to stop it? Would it take a revolution of the voting public to force them to clean up their act? This has really been driving me crazy.

JesseGordon gave this response on 5/4/2000:

Representatives add the "crap" because they want their particular crap to pass. Big bills that are likely to pass are ripe for "amendments" for pork projects, which are added at every step of the way. Representatives won't vote against the bill as a whole just because of some small pieces of "pork" added on, so the pork passes along with the whole bill.

The Line Item Veto was specifically intended to address that issue. In various versions, it allows the President to veto "pork" amendments to big bills on an individual basis, so that the House would have to vote to override the veto on the particular items. The version of the Line Item Veto most recently enacted was deemed unconstitutional, so Clinton can't use it.

There's always another version brewing, however. It wouldn't take a "revolution" to address this -- but it WOULD take a constitutional amendment (or perhaps another Line Item Veto bill that would pass Supreme Court muster). But the House won't push it unless there's a grassroots movement for it -- because the House members LIKE having a method to pass pork (since it pleases their constituents and gets them re-elected).

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