As one of his Presidential initiatives, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz), has vowed to veto all earmarked bills. McCain, a veteran advocate for diminishing earmarks, argues cutting back on earmarked bills will help to control wasteful federal spending.
He directly addressed the issue in a speech he gave on Feb. 3 to a crowd of supporters at Sacred Heart University.
"What do you want, a bridge to nowhere or a $1,000 tax credit for every child in America?" McCain asked. "That kind of thing is going to stop when I'm president of the United States of America."
Since Sept. 29, 2006, the national debt has increased $1.49 billion each day, currently pitting the United States in a $9 trillion debt that's still growing. Divided by the estimated population, each citizen's share of the debt totals $30,400.94.
Liz Steucheli, a senior international studies major, said she is worried about the state of the national debt.
"I don't know if it would necessarily sway my vote, but I appreciate what he's trying to do, and I see something needs to be done," Steucheli said.
At the same time, Craig Brians, associate professor and assistant chair in political science, explained nearly every bill contains something that is earmarked. Congress' year-end budget passed in December 2007 includes almost 9,000 earmarks.
Brians also said a lot of funding for this area of Virginia, as well as McCain claims to have done so much for, is provided by earmarked bills.
Though the McCain campaign was contacted, it declined to respond.
This veto-promise could be a ploy to make conservative voters more comfortable with McCain, who is viewed as a moderate republican.
"McCain is well known as being a pretty straightforward person, but he's playing a complicated game right now where he's pretending to be much more conservative than (he) is," Brians said.
From 1990 to 2003, 8 percent of funding provided by earmarks went to education, often providing noncompetitive grants and scholarships.
Though the financial aid department said Tech doesn't rely heavily on grants and scholarships, the university has received funding in the past for different projects. On the 2005 Transportation Bill, $750,000 was earmarked to Tech for the Center for Excellence in Surface Transportation Safety.
"We don't have any such earmarks on grants as far as I know," said Barry Simmons, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid.