Obama is fine with 6,000 earmarks
Yesterday, we noted that Obama had once expressed determination to get rid of earmarks and "business as usual." But in case you thought he actually meant it, think again. Jake Tapper of ABC News reports:
The Obama administration today told Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmark projects, even though just a few days ago the president said one of the lessons he learned from the 2010 midterm elections was to take more seriously the public's disapproval of - and his pledge to oppose -- earmarks.
"We wish there were no earmarks and are troubled with their presence" in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, an administration source told ABC News. "But Secretary Gates has told the President that the alternative bill" - a continuing resolution that for one year funds the government, which is due to run out of cash at the end of the week - "doesn't have the funding critical for several national security priorities."
Not only does this suggest that his promises of reform at his "shellacking" press conference was less than sincere, but it also indicates that Obama is unwilling to cross his Democratic allies, even as many of them go out the door. Not surprisingly, the Republicans pounced. Brad Dayspring, communications director for incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor, blasted away:
"So right after his election rebuke, President Obama claimed that he would work together to reform earmarks and today he supports a bill that contains billions of dollars of wasteful pork. If that's the kind of reform the President had in mind, Eric Cantor isn't interested. People are furious and rightly so with the runaway spending and the joke process that they are watching Democrats engage in. Even after the election shellacking, the President and his party still don't get it. If he is serious about working together, he needs to take it seriously and pledge to veto this pork laden spending bill."
And, really, does the president want to go up against the Kristol bill in January? It seems both fiscally irresponsible and politically unwise at this stage in the game for Obama to embrace a noxious pork-filled bill. It is, frankly, giving Republicans a free swing at him and the congressional Democrats. We'll see if Republicans decide to fight the president now, or wait until January to make their mark.
| December 16, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories: Budget, President Obama
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