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Obama to Break Campaign Promise, Sign Earmark-Laden Spending Bill

5 years ago
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White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, said yesterday that President Obama will sign the $410 billion omnibus spending bill recently passed by the Democratic controlled Congress. The bill contains some 9,000 earmarks, spending items inserted by individual Congressmen for pet projects in their districts. When he signs the bill, Obama will violate a promise he made on the campaign trail to reduce the number of earmarks, or pork projects, in legislation.

Orszag told ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous that the president views the spending bill as "last year's business."
"We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.

We're going to be working with the Congress. We want to make sure that earmarks are reduced and also bar they're transparent. We're going to work with the Congress on a set of reforms to achieve those.

This is – this is last year's business. We just need to move on."

It is technically true that the omnibus bill is "last year's business" in the sense that it provides fiscal year 2008 funding for federal agencies, which Congress never got around to completing. But that doesn't tell the whole story. The bill was introduced and debated last month, under Obama's watch, and contains increased funding for Obama Administration priorities. Some wold say that makes the president as responsible for the bill's contents as the Democratic Congressional leaders who allowed the appropriations bills to lapse last year and the omnibus to be loaded up with earmarks.

On the campaign trail, candidate Barack Obama said that as president he would go through spending bills, "line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely." (3:37) But that has turned out not to be true, at least with respect to this spending bill. In his economic address to Congress last week, Obama said that he would propose an earmark-free budget next year. For now, however, Americans will have to be satisfied with earmarks as usual.

On the campaign trail, candidate Barack Obama said that as president he would go through spending bills, "line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely." (3:37)

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