FRC: Last year, Sen. Barack Obama proposed more than $331 million worth of earmarks to the Appropriations Committee on Illinois's behalf. As CNN says, that was last year. On January 6, 2009, the President-elect pledged to change his ways. He vowed to the American people that the stimulus plan would be pork-free. "We are going to ban all earmarks," he insisted.
What a difference a month--and some public resistance--make. Realizing that his recovery package wasn't headed toward a fairy-tale ending, Obama did what mortal politicians do. He broke his promise. During his speech to the House Democrats' retreat yesterday, Obama returned to politics as usual. "[T]here's the argument, well, this is full of pet projects. When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one," he said to applause. "So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill--this is a spending bill. What do you think stimulus is?"
In his must-read column today, "The Fierce Urgency of Pork," Charles Krauthammer highlights the President's warning that if Congress doesn't act on the stimulus, the crisis would become "a catastrophe." "So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared 'we have chosen hope over fear.' Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill."
Although Republicans have tried to strip some excess from the stimulus, Democrats had a small victory of their own yesterday, defeating Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) amendment to ban religious discrimination from the bill by a 43-54 vote. Only Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) deserted the GOP to side with her liberal pals in opposing the provision.
To hear more about the stimulus--straight from the elephant's mouth--please tune in to Washington Watch Weekly for my one-on-one conversation with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He'll help us break down the bill. Later, our own Dr. Pat Fagan will discuss Obama's socialized health care plan. For a station listing, show schedule, or to subscribe by podcast, visit www.frcradio.com.
The Washington Post: The Fierce Urgency of Pork
From Family Research Council, www.frc.org