Obama Takes Baby Steps on Earmark Reform

Some say he missed opportunity; others fault lack of specifics
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2009 12:45 PM CDT
Obama Takes Baby Steps on Earmark Reform
President Barack Obama makes remarks on earmark reform yesterday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.   (AP Photo)

President Obama announced moves to curb pork-barrel spending yesterday, but not as decisively as some hoped, Politico reports. Obama said he was signing the “imperfect omnibus because it’s necessary for the ongoing functions of government,” but in future he wants fewer earmarks in federal spending measures, and those destined for private companies opened to competition. But since he didn’t specify actual cuts, lawmakers may ignore him.

Democrats have reduced earmarks compared to the Republican-controlled Congress of 2006, but many were surprised Obama didn’t push for a yet-lower cap. But with his budget vote ahead, Obama likely wanted to avoid a fight. “Give me sobriety but not yet,” joked one Florida Republican. “Anything less than an actual veto threat is not going to be taken seriously by Congress.” (More Barack Obama stories.)

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