The First Draft: what about the pork?
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.
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.
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.
– Photo credit: REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel (Pig head in Romaniapork festival last month); REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Board shows Dow on March 10)