An earmark is a legislative (especially congressional) provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees. The term "earmark" is used in this sense in several countries, such as the United States and South Africa.Earmarks come in two varieties: Hard earmarks, or "hardmarks", found in legislation, and soft earmarks, or "softmarks", found in the text of congressional committee reports. Hard earmarks are legally binding, whereas soft earmarks are not but are customarily acted upon as if they were.
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