http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/10/gop-cross-overs-earmarks-gain-billion-spending/ GOP Cross-Overs Have Earmarks to Gain in $410 Billion Spending Bill Almost all of the Republican senators who are either expected to support the spending bill or are considering supporting the bill have billions of dollars worth of earmarks in the package. Senate Democrats are expected to win over just enough Republicans to move forward on a controversial $410 billion spending bill by the end of the night Tuesday. But it may come as no surprise that almost all of the Republican senators who are either expected to support the bill or are considering supporting the bill have billions of dollars worth of earmarks in the package. The earmark-mania is not unique to either party -- both Democrats and Republicans contributed to what Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates is 8,570 disclosed earmarks worth $7.7 billion in the bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. But the Republican crossovers in particular have a lot at stake in the package. Of the three Republicans that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has on his "definite" list, two of them have authored 129 total earmarks worth $190 million, according to an updated list from Taxpayers for Common Sense. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is actually the second-biggest earmarker, according to the list, with 64 earmarks worth $114 million. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is a few notches down, with 65 earmarks worth $76 million. Both are expected to support the omnibus bill -- along with Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, who has zero earmarks. They would help Reid attain the 60 votes needed to shut off debate on the bill and move it toward final passage. A number of other Republicans are considered possible supporters, and all of them have earmarks to gain. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., for instance has $86 million in earmarks; Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has $74 million; and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has $25 million. Shelby told FOX News Monday that he's vetted all his earmarks. "I wouldn't want to be associated with an earmark on an appropriation that didn't have a lot of merit to it," he said, adding that the system has been abused by some lawmakers. "What we need to do is vet it more and more. I wouldn't want to give up our right to appropriate money," he said. "Otherwise, we cede it to the president, whoever that is. ... But on the other hand, any earmark you have, it ought to have merit, or we shouldn't do it." Shelby's earmarks span the gamut, from $800,000 for oyster rehabilitation at the University of South Alabama, to $380,000 to the city of Tarrant, Ala., for streetscaping and walkways. The top earmarker, by value, is a Democrat -- Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, with $123 million worth of earmarks. The senator with the most earmarks, regardless of their value, is Specter with 134. Other Republicans, like Sen. John McCain, have tried to strip the earmarks from the bill, unsuccessfully. But Democratic Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., also broke off from their party out of opposition to spending measures like the earmarks. "It looks as if Congress is just on auto pilot, immune to the problems" of Americans, Bayh told a Sunday talk show.