March 3rd, 2009
01:56 PM ET
6 years ago

Hoyer says Congress, not the President, will decide on earmarks

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, insisted Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, would decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, insisted Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, would decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, insisted Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, would decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills.

Asked about a statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Monday that the Obama Administration was formulating guidelines for earmark reform, Hoyer said flatly, "I don't think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do." He paused deliberately and quipped to reporters in the room, "I hope you all got that down."

He added, "It is certainly appropriate for the White House to suggest ways of going forward so that we can have agreement between the White House and ourselves."

Hoyer pointed out that Democrats have cut down the number of earmarks and now require that all requests get posted on the internet. But he conceded "I think there are additional things we can do and consider." He said Congressional leaders already talked to the White House about "concerns it had,” but refused to offer any specifics.

CNN reported Monday that, according to Democratic sources at a White House meeting last week, President Obama urged Democratic leaders to "limit" future earmarks, and in what one official described as a "tense" exchange, the leaders told the President they'll do what they can to continue reform - but that earmarking projects for districts and states is a prerogative of Congress.

Hoyer, who attended the White House meeting, vigorously defended earmark requests Tuesday, calling them “the congressional initiative process.”

"I philosophically believe it would be an undermining of the Article One responsibilities given to the Congress of the United States if it were to abandon its right to add items that it believes are priorities for our country and for the communities we represent as Members of Congress, " Hoyer said.

The Majority Leader dismissed a question from a reporter that the $410 billion spending bill for the rest of this year was becoming an "embarrassment" to President Obama and reiterated Obama's argument that the package is "last year's business."

Hoyer also said that even though then-Senator Barack Obama did not request any earmarks in last year's spending bill, he did request projects for Illinois in prior years he served in the Senate.


Filed under: Steny Hoyer
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. simmy

    Hoyer is the third Dem. to say that the President has no authority over them. Curious that they allowed Bush to walk all over them, and never once said that he didn't have any authority over them. Now they have courage? Or is it something else?

    March 3, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Lots of Change

    Keep it up Boys and Girls, you only have two years to get your earmarks in and you're sure showing America how it's done.

    March 3, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Independent Paul

    Round 1 in Dems v. Obama. Round 2 will be the Iraq troop withdrawl.

    March 3, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Gracie

    Republicans are soooooo ignorant. They are not the majority and they certainly do not have control. But let's humor them in thinking they are "DA MAN" HA! HA! HA!

    March 3, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    The Dem's had better watch out or they will be voted out.

    March 3, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Willy Brown

    Democrats showing their true coloirs. Makes you proud to vote for fools!

    March 3, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Mari

    FYI to HOYER:

    IT IS CALLED "THE LINE ITEM VETO" OBAMA WILL USE IT!

    March 3, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. ray ray

    Pipe down, Steny. Obama wasn't REALLY planning on doing anything about earmarks... it was all just "heated campaign rhetoric" as was ALL his promises.

    You'll get your pork. Now play along like a good democrat and let Obama spout with steam and fury.

    Liberals = mindless lemmings

    March 3, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. yuri

    OK, Let's see the congress sit down and hammer out a set of criteria to enable them come up with a technical defenition for an earmark.

    March 3, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Rob

    Why is that the Democrats are causing more pain for Obama than the Republicans?

    March 3, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. E

    The bridge to nowhere was a REPUBLICAN earmark, stop pretending only Dems add them in.
    Do not forget who got us in all this debt to begin with, REPUBLICANS.

    March 3, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Tulsa L

    With Americans having less confidence in our Politicans both Dem. and Rep. in Washington, you better do what it takes to end all these earmarks or you won't see another term in your Senate seat or House seat........there may be times for earmarks but not now during these bad economical times..........so cut the crap and do what the people of this country sent you there to do........eliminate waste..........support the President and stop fighting, your acting just like your counter parts the Republicans.......

    March 3, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Angi's mom

    Politics as usual. Heaven help us all.

    March 3, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. KC

    Oooo we have the taxpayers credit card. Let's just spend, spend, spend.

    March 3, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Randy

    Dang even Dems have no respect for BO.

    March 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. dumbocrat alert

    Hoyer is right, after all Barry Obama's main job was a community organizer and he is proving that now.

    March 3, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. We love Sarah

    Don't listen to congress because all earmarks are written by the President, or so you would think as everyone is blaming the President for earmarks.

    March 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. pmonk

    Congress should listen more to the president and the mood of the people if they are to be re-electable. Earmarks are not the 'right' of congress as they seem to believe.

    March 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Rick

    To those Comrades of the DEMONCRATES, Obama's stimulus made 60 jobs today while UNEMPLOMENT ROSE TO 8%, Good job comrades, you sold out our country to higher TAXES

    March 3, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Pat M

    Guess this means the only way we will ever have line item veto in our Government is if we have a national vote. Congress lives and dies by pork.

    March 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Sandra, Washington

    MR. HOYER,

    JUST BARE IN MIND THAT WE HAVE ELECTED

    PRESIDENT OBAMA TO UN-DO WHAT ALL OF YOU HAVE

    DONE FOR THE PAT 2 DECADES. WE WILL VOTE ANY DEMOCRAT,

    INDEPENDENCE OR REPUBLICAN OUT OF OFFICE, THAT STANDS

    IN HIS WAY. THAT YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK IF YOU CAN FIND

    ONE IN GOOD STANDING, NO THANKS TO ANY OF YOU.

    March 3, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. chris

    Ok...and WE'LL decide whether the folks presently in Congress get to stay!

    March 3, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. big papa

    The Ricks on the bus go...

    ...WAH! WAH! WAH!

    ...Patriot Act...

    ...my man!

    March 3, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. david goldman

    VERY BIG MAN TALK FROM A LOT OF SIT AROUND & DO

    NOTHING FOLKS ON OUR PAYROLL. BETTER GIVE OUR

    PRESIDENT ALL HE NEEDS TO TURN THIS SHIP AROUND

    OR WE WILL START VOTING RECENT COLLEGE GRADS IN OFFICE.

    March 3, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Mary

    Who runs this country? I thought voters wanted Obama to, but it seems he's just the whipping boy for Congress ! Great..............

    March 3, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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