Earmarks and 'pretty talk'

Earmarks and 'pretty talk'

February 6th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

President Barack Obama recently signaled a willingness to join with Republicans in Congress in opposing spending bills that include "earmarks." Those are pet spending projects inserted into legislation by lawmakers who are eager to "bring home the bacon" to their constituents for special favors and buying votes.

The president's latest take on earmarks is a bit of a "flip-flop." Back in 2009, for instance, he said, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."

Nevertheless, even if his current willingness to scrap earmarks is late, it's still welcome.

But the Democrat leader of the Senate is stubbornly rejecting the call to end wasteful earmarks. Discussing the president's promise to veto such bills, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was just a "lot of pretty talk," the Associated Press reported.

Fortunately, Republicans who recently regained control of the House of Representatives have vowed not to pass any bills containing earmarks. Between GOP opposition and the president's veto threat, Reid should be unable to get any earmarks enacted into law -- at least for the time being.