The First Draft: what about the pork?

March 11, 2009

So the Democratic-controlled Congress finally sent President Barack Obama a $410 billion bill to fund the government through the rest of the year. But it’s full of “earmarks” — billions of dollars earmarked for lawmakers’ pet projects.ROMANIA/

Obama has repeatedly criticized Congress for including the so called “earmarks” or pork in various legislation but he is expected to sign the spending bill. However, he also plans to make a speech criticizing the whole process of earmarks.

Question is — does he speak out against the pork then sign the bill? Or sign the bill then criticize it? Obama is due to speak about “earmark reform” at 11:20 EDT/1520 GMT.

Administration officials defend his decision to sign the spending bill despite the pork, saying it’s just unfinished business from last year and Obama will work to get Congress to get rid of the earmarks in the next spending legislation.

Lots of talk about Bernard Madoff in the morning news. The 70-year-old who is accused of a $50 billion financial swindle, could be spending his last day in his luxury New York home. He apears in court on Thursday and is expected to plead guilty to fraud charges prosecutors say could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

MARKETS-STOCKS/After a strong day on Wall Street yesterday, all eyes will be on the stock market to see if it can sustain gains. A day after a surge in financial stocks fueled the biggest one-day rally since November, stocks looked set to advance a bit further amid more confidence in Washington’s efforts to assist banks.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel (Pig head in Romaniapork festival last month); REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Board shows Dow on March 10)

4 comments

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And the stock market surges on the word of a Citi banker? Let me tell you this: I’ve a much, much better investment for you suckers, er, folks than stocks; I’ve got a real nice little bridge out Brooklyn way that I’m offering TODAY ONLY at 50 percent off. O.K.? Apply early as I’m expecting a stampede.

Posted by Inquirer | Report as abusive

Change has come. Now, instead of being knee deep, we are over our head in debt.

Posted by Fran | Report as abusive

As long as tax revenues decline the Congress will be able to hold the Executive Branch hostage when the government needs an emergency spending bill to meet operational expenses. Our Congressman are acting like top executives from Enron. “Lets get what we can before there is nothing left to get.” Even an expanded Imperial Presidency wouldn’t work to correct this problem. Rome did it with Octavian with some success. Every subsequent Emperor refused to accept reality and lead Rome to it’s ruin.

I would guess most people like earmark spending for their own state and see it as wasteful when other states get that money. If this is true, there is a fundamental problem as to how U.S. Citizens view their relationship with each other around the country. There was a reason at one time why we choose to call this country the United States. Now more than ever we need to start acting like it.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Did I promise to eliminate earmarks and pork?
Oops, next time!

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive