EARMARK: Portions of a piece of legislation (usually an appropriations bill) that benefit a specific state, region, project, or individual.
After passing a $410 billion spending bill, republicans in Congress are still up in arms about earmarks. What they're especially mad about is that President Obama isn't putting a stop to a problem that they turned into an art form after they came to power in Congress in 1994.
Worse, their complaints are really misdirected because - apart from doing nothing to stem spending when they were in power - at the end of the day earmarks amount to little more than 2% of the total federal budget.
Finally, of the 8,500 + earmarks in the spending bill, at least 40% of them belong to republicans. Put another way, republicans have a heavy hand in the cookie jar.