Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Congress Approves $410 Billion Spending Bill

Another victory for President Obama and the Democrats as the Senate approved the $410 billion funding measure to keep the government running for the rest of the year. The White House announced that President Obama will sign the measure on Wednesday, where he will also announce steps aimed at curbing lawmakers' penchant for pet projects.

Now personally I believe that earmarks are getting a bad name, and are not as evil as Republicans are making them out to be. Earmarks should be a tool that Representatives and Senators use, to specifically meet their states needs. Its just that earmarks should be above board, clear who has submitted the earmark, and not tied to any lobbyist. Earmarks should be done in conjunction with state and local government to ensure they meet the needs of the state.

The media has been too willing to confuse pork barrel projects and earmarks. A pork barrel project is usually an earmark, but not every earmark is pork barrel.

I don't understand why the media is trying to say this bill is an embarresment for President Obama. He argued against wasteful spending, not earmarks (that was McCain who has priven to be an idiot). In addition, what this economy needs is spending, and that is what this bill delivers. And the bill was written mostly over the course of last year, with support from key Republicans such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Senate's No. 3 Republican, so the belly-aching by Republicans has been humorous. By the way even though McConnell was very active in writing the bill, he voted against it. Can you say covering his butt?

The spending measure chips away at several leftover Bush administration policies. It clears the way for the Obama administration to reverse a rule issued late in the Bush administration that says greenhouse gases may not be restricted to protect polar bears from global warming. Another Bush administration rule that reduced the input of federal scientists in endangered species decisions can also be quickly overturned without a lengthy rulemaking process.
The big increases — among them a 14 percent boost for a popular program that feeds infants and poor women and a 10 percent increase for housing vouchers for the poor — represent a clear win for Democrats who spent most of the past decade battling with Bush over money for domestic programs.

Generous above-inflation increases are spread throughout the bill for initiatives that the Bush Administration underfunded, including a $2.4 billion, 13 percent increase for the Agriculture Department and a 10 percent increase for Amtrak passenger rail system.

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