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Begich Votes “No” on Attempt to Ban Earmarks

Continues to support public facility investment in Alaska

While supporting reform and full disclosure of requests from Alaskans for community-supported investments, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today voted "no" on an attempt in the U.S. Senate to ban congressionally directed investments commonly known as earmarks. The proposed measure would have banned earmarks for a period of three years.

"I am committed to addressing Alaska's enormous infrastructure needs and will continue to support requests from Alaskans for community-backed investments in public buildings, roads, ports and other projects and programs that create jobs, strengthen our communities and keep our economy moving," Begich said.

Begich said the number of earmark requests his office receives each year from Alaskans is evidence of the need and support for federal investment in the state. For the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations cycle, Begich's office received nearly $5 billion in requests from Alaskans for almost 500 projects. Currently, dozens of those projects worth millions of dollars have been passed by the Appropriations Committee and are awaiting approval by the full Senate.

Of those, many are critical projects for Alaska communities across the state and funding for programs such as combating domestic violence and sexual assault, health care services through Anchorage Project Access, suicide prevention for the Northwest Arctic, rural job creation through vocational-technical training, research money for the University of Alaska, several military projects and more.

A complete list of the 2011 projects Sen. Begich has secured funding for that are awaiting Senate approval is attached to this release.

Begich is a longtime advocate of earmark reform. Since being elected to the Senate in 2008, he has disclosed on his Senate website all earmark requests made by Alaskans as well as those requests he advances for federal funding. He also requires proof of local community support and other sources of funding for projects to demonstrate they are needs-based and provide local jobs.

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