Well-placed Hill sources tell us that the chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees are developing a plan to bring back congressional earmarks next year. This directed funding, which amounted to about 1% of total federal spending, was eliminated by Congress in the wake of revelations that some interests had made political contributions in return for getting defense earmarks. Unfortunately, for the Corps of Engineers, the President has always earmarked his preferences. Since that wasn’t restricted by Congress, the White House Office of Management and Budget has had unrestricted power to choose which projects receive funding. In the case of the Corps, members of Congress can’t get money for a pet project unless that has gone through years of Corps study followed by congressional approval of the project. Bringing back earmarks for the Corps will mean an end to OMB’s arbitrary micro-management of the Corps.