It is not inefficient, especially since those legislative bodies are already in place, and that is precisely the kind of tasks they are best equipped to undertake. Why should a Congressman in RI be forced to review and study the merits of a $400K project tagged for NM? He/she shouldn't, and almost certainly won't bother to do so. He/she will likely ignore the project altogether, yet vote for or against it based on the merits of something entirely unrelated. That is not only inefficient, it is ridiculous, and contributes mightily to the graft and corruption of the good old boys club on Capital Hill.
You miss my point. The inefficiencies lie in the administrivia of 50 bodies and the associated agita doing ANYTHING. It is much more simple and cost effective for a single omnibus bill that addresses all the HHS needs instead of silo'ing them to 50 separate mini bills. If nothing else, there would be a reduction of lobbying expense right off the top.
This goes along the same line as an argument going on in Kentucky right now. There are 120 counties for our 4M people. This was great when many rode horses once a month to the courthouse to do business but now it is just a redundancy of administrivia to have 120 County Court Clerks, PVAs, High Sheriffs, County Judge Executives, 120 Budgets, 120 School Districts [actually 187]. The gross inefficiencies of these 120 administrative silos costs a ridiculous amount of extra money to taxpayers. With 120 Counties you have multiples of 120 chances for corruption and it is harder to monitor,investigate and catch.
When a Congressman puts an Earmark on the budget to provide services to his constitutes that does a couple of things. It allows things to be provided that are just not available on state budgets and it does provide a congressional quid pro quo between members that allow them to work together [it sucks but seems to at least get things done - I'll vote for your Phoenix Skyport extension, you vote for my Bluegrass Army Depot cleanup].
Also federal purchasing guidelines make items cheaper than many [but not all] items purchased by states so the taxpayer does get a better deal when dealing with the Feds. Economy of scale has some benefits.