Throughout the Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama railed against earmarks. He said repeatedly that he would change the way bills were written and he would cut earmarks by at least half when he got into office. To his credit, he backed those promises by voting in the Senate for an amendment that would have put a moratorium on earmarks for the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year. He was one of only six Democrats who voted for the moratorium. The amendment was overwhelmingly defeated by the Democrats with some help from a few tax-and-spend Republicans who wanted to keep their pet projects.
Now, Mr. Obama is about to receive from Congress the Omnibus Appropriations bill to let the government run for the remainder of this fiscal year. Depending on who you read, the bill has between 8,500 and 9,300 different “earmarks.” Mr. Obama has said he will sign the bill.
Now he has Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, (who, BTW, voted in Congress against the moratorium on earmarks) out telling everyone that we must pass this bill as-it-is and do it now. He claims that Mr. Obama is being true to his word in that he signed both the Child Health Care bill and the Stimulus Bill, which were “free of earmarks.”
First, calling an ‘earmark’ a Cadillac Convertible doesn’t make it one. Nor does saying the Bill is “free of earmarks” make the earmarks go away. As noted earlier in this blog, the Stimulus Bill was riddled with earmarks. It appears that Mr. Obama’s staff has learned that if you tell a lie often enough, people eventually begin to believe it.
Second, there is the rush to get this done. Does that sound familiar? As long as they have a Congress who will do their bidding, the Obama Administration will rush everything it can as fast as it can. This way, there is little time for debate or study of the legislation. The Stimulus Bill had to be rushed through before people could realize the huge effects it would have and debate whether those effects were good or bad.
Funny, but there are 16 different earmarks in the Bill that were sponsored by Rahm Emanuel when he was still in Congress. Why don’t I believe Mr. Obama’s claim he is going to change the way business is done in Washington, D.C.?????