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Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 11/17/2010

Who's bringing home the bacon in Va.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Looks like Virginia Reps. Rob Wittman and Randy Forbes brought home the bacon before rolling the pork barrel out the door.

Granted, when House Republicans announced that their caucus would observe a party-wide moratorium on fiscal 2011 earmarks, the targeted spending items had already been awarded for 2010. But Wittman's and Forbes's respective $14.9 million and $13.7 million in earmarks exceeded those secured by Democrats Glenn Nye, Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello -- demonstrating that even the most fiscally conservative can find ways to spend money.

Now, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) is pushing to go further in the Senate by forcing a vote on a permanent earmark ban, resurrecting a debate that never lies far below the surface.

Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, who gave up the infamous bits (relatively speaking, remember) of spending four years ago, is one of the strongest earmark opponents, along with Rep. Bob Goodlatte -- who still managed to bring back $2.2 million to the Roanoke area last year.

But former 11th District Rep. Tom Davis, also a Republican, makes some points in favor of earmarks: They don't add to overall spending, and they put decisions in the hands of legislators instead of executive-branch bureaucrats.

And let's not forget that earmarks funded widening Interstate 66 and rebuilding the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

It's not likely that Rep. Jim Moran's constituents (of which I am one) will forget about earmarks, by the way, since he brought back the fourth-largest total of any member of Congress. And he's not banned by his party from doing it again this year, unlike Cantor, Goodlatte, Forbes, Wittman and Frank Wolf.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | November 17, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia  
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