UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 27, 2009

THE UBIQUITOUS EARMARK

CQ - President Obama, who took a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail, is listed as one of dozens of cosponsors of a $7.7 million set-aside in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday.
But not for long.

On Thursday, Rob Blumenthal, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee said the one earmark in the bill that carries Obama's name will be edited. The committee will attribute that earmark to other senators on the list of that provision's supporters, but not Obama.

No changes are expected to the earmarks requested by other lawmakers who ended up in top jobs in the Obama administration months after they sought set-asides for special projects in the bills that became the omnibus. . .

Obama's name jumped out on a list of many earmark cosponsors because he and his staff have been so emphatic about his no-earmark stance. . .

The $7.7 million earmark -- for Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions -- is cosponsored by a long list of other members of both chambers. The program appeared in Senate report language last year but its sponsors were not identified at that time.

Overall, the president, vice president, the White House chief of staff and the four Cabinet secretaries who were in Congress last year showed up in the records of the House and Senate Appropriations committees as the sponsors or cosponsors of hundreds of millions of dollars in pet projects in the $410 billion spending bill.

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