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Obama urges earmark reform; GOP says just get rid of them

By JULIE PACE
November 13, 2010

President Barack Obama attends the Leaders Retreat at the APEC summit in Yokohama, Japan, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Confronting the nation’s mounting deficit, President Barack Obama is urging Congress to limit spending on pet home-state projects, while Republicans are challenging him to support an outright ban.

In his weekly radio and online address Saturday, Obama said that with the economy still struggling to recover from the recession, the U.S. cannot afford unnecessary spending on so-called earmarks, items lawmakers slip into spending bills without a full examination or debate.

“When it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact,” Obama said from Asia, where he was wrapping up a 10-day trip.

However, Obama stopped short of calling for a full ban on earmarks, saying some of them “support worthy projects in our local communities.” While he said steps must be taken to limit wasteful spending, he offered no specific proposals for how to do so.

The top Republicans in the House, Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia, issued a joint statement welcoming Obama’s remarks on earmark reform. But they also raised the stakes, challenging Obama to immediately agree to veto any spending bills that include earmarks.

“Washington has failed to prioritize the way that taxpayer dollars are spent, and shutting down the earmark process is a good first step to begin righting the ship,” Boehner and Cantor said in the statement.

Boehner and Cantor said House Republicans, including all newly elected lawmakers, will vote next week on a measure that would ban earmarks when the new session of Congress starts in January.

In the Republicans’ weekly address, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon outlined the GOP’s top priorities: creating jobs, cutting spending and reforming Congress.

Walden, who is running the GOP transition committee after the party’s House takeover in the midterm elections, said plans are being made to make the legislative process more open, including the installation of cameras in the Rules Committee, where decisions are made on what bills and amendments come to the floor for a vote.

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Online:

Obama address: http://www.whitehouse.gov

GOP address: http://www.youtube.com/RepublicanConference

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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One Response to Obama urges earmark reform; GOP says just get rid of them

  1. b mcclellan

    November 14, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Why not name the seemingly 1% lobes draining our treasury. Hell, if I had all the cash, would I give you any?
    Straw is cheep, along with the opposition to bale hay.
    It’s now up to a million chickens and beyond, divided across the wide array of a vision of America. Peck, peck.
    We are too good of a planet to experience this lull in humanity whilst letting it go further mud sliding along.

    Mr. President go lightly into the nether, or Chicago, whichever comes first.
    Day is done, precedent never revealed itself, admit it and get out of the way fore, here comes irrelevancy.