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Entries in Earmark (2)

Wednesday
Dec152010

President Obama’s $8-Billion Earmark Rerun: Lesson Not Learned?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Wednesday 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.”

Gates issued a statement Wednesday evening saying that without the omnibus spending bill, the Pentagon would be left  “without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements” -- specifically “the military pay raise, increases in military health care costs, higher fuel prices, and other ‘fact of life’ bills.” The shorter funding bill would “slow our efforts to meet unanticipated wartime needs,” he added, while the bigger funding bill would provide funding for “critical national security initiatives” including the new Cyber Command and increasing special operations forces.

The president’s acquiescence with a bill that contains $8 billion in earmarks stands in contrast with what he said was a lesson learned from the 2010 midterm “shellacking,” when he indicated that he regretted not taking more of a stand against a different $8 billion in earmarks in a 2009 omnibus spending bill.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Wednesday
Dec152010

Earmark Hypocrisy? GOP Leaders Grilled on Spending

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Thune, R-S.D., held a press conference Wednesday to rip the Democrats' new 1,924-page, $1.1-trillion omnibus bill for containing $8 billion worth of earmarks.

"The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn't get a vote," Thune said.

"I think this is an outrage," railed Cornyn.

But Thune and Cornyn have tens of millions of dollars for their own earmarks in the bill, including Thune's request for $8 million for B-1 bomber fleet maintenance and Cornyn's request for $1.6 million for the Texas Army National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force.

"How do you have any credibility on this?" ABC's Jon Karl asked.

"Because we're going to vote against the bill," said Cornyn. "This is the wrong way to do business."

"Senator, were you wrong when you put these earmarks in before?," Karl asked.

"Karl, this is not just about earmarks," said Cornyn. "Earmarks are a symptom of wasteful Washington spending that the American people have said they want reformed. We agree with them, and that's why we will vote against this bill. But you're missing the story if you think it's just about earmarks. This is about a flawed process of sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors, and a big bill, a spending bill, dropped on the American people and on us on December the 14th, without adequate time to amend it and debate it and to reveal to the American people what is in it so they can cast their judgment."

"So I think -- I think that's to me the context. And we've said very clearly -- we voted for an earmark moratorium. We will abide by that, and we will reject any earmarks requested by us or anyone else, because that's what the American people told us they want."

"Is that an acknowledgement that what you did was wrong, to include the earmarks in the first place?," Karl said.

"I think you've asked the question about five times, and I've tried to answer it to the best of my ability," Cornyn responded.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio