Monday, February 23, 2009

9,000 earmarks in soon to be debated Omnibus bill

Will Pres. Obama live up to his campaign promises and carve them out in a fit of budget waste outrage? Of course NOT. The promises were meaningless.

Link HT: Andy at Club for Growth

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

"We need earmark reform," Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. "And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely."

President Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot next week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that's riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The bill will contain about 9,000 earmarks totaling $5 billion, congressional officials say. Many of the earmarks - loosely defined as local projects inserted by members of Congress - were inserted last year as the spending bills worked their way through various committees.

So while Obama and McCain were slamming earmarks on the campaign trail, House and Senate members - Democrats and Republicans - were slapping them into spending bills.

"It will be a little embarrassing for the president if he signs a bill with that many earmarks on it," said Stan Collender, a veteran Washington budget analyst. "He'll say they're left over from the Bush years, and he as to say that next year the bill will be clean."