MONTGOMERY — Former U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby is scheduled to make an appearance before a joint session of the legislature will convene to honor him for his time in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday, the legislature announced that a joint session of both houses would meet Thursday morning in recognition of Shelby and his tenure in Congress.

Sources in the legislature confirmed Shelby would attend and would possibly be speaking.

Shelby served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2023. Prior to that, he served the U.S. House for four terms. He switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party in 1995, after which he served as chairman and ranking member on several central congressional committees.

Shelby retired from the Senate in January, ceding his spot to now-U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery).

Shelby was known as a major procurer of significant earmarks for Alabama, especially during his time on the Senate Appropriations Committee. During his last few years, he brought over half a billion in earmarks to Alabama, which drew the disapprobation of conservative outlets and watchdog groups.

In December 2022, Shelby included $666 million as part of a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. It was the second year in a row that Shelby took the most earmarked funds to Alabama.

Earmarks refer specifically to project-specific spending requests made by members of Congress as part of the annual appropriations process. Typically the projects are to the benefit of the Congressman’s state or district.

Shelby’s farewell earmarks earned Shelby the “porker of the month” moniker from the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). Shelby also received the honor in April 2022 for procuring $683 million in earmarks.

CAGW awards lawmakers as “porkers” and features them in its "Congressional Pig Book," as it has done for over 30 years.

"Pork-barrel," or simply "pork," is a metaphorical term for appropriating government spending for localized projects primarily to bring money to a representative's district.

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