March 3rd, 2009
01:56 PM ET
5 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. Rick

    lolol...wow, I knew it was going to be fun to watch this clown show called the Obama administration implode but I had no idea it would be so soon.

    March 3, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. dr.mimi de la cruz

    DIDN'T DENY BUSH & HIS CROOKS MUCH THERE.

    BUT NOW WE ARE GOING TO PLAY PULL MY FINGER

    WITH ANY ATTEMPT TO TURN THIS ECONOMY & THIS

    NATION AROUND, WE GIVE YOU THE JOBS & YOU BEST

    UNDERSTAND THAT WE WILL VOTE ALL OF YOU OUT OF

    OFFICE. WE ARE IN JEOPARDY & IN NO MOOD FOR ANY CRAP.

    March 3, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. proud army navy mom

    It would have nice if our Democrats would have stood up to Bush or the repugs before they ran the country into the ground. Now they want to grow a backbone, Just get the bill done and send it to the President,

    March 3, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Marc

    That's a laugh! Congress will have to stand in line. There are plenty ahead of them already waiting to take their turn at pushing Obama around (psst! he doesn't like confrontation). Russia, Iran, N. Korea, PRC are already in line. Besides, Obama's not against earmarks. Ever hear of ACORN?

    March 3, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Marc

    Another campaign promise bites the dust... what a surprise!

    March 3, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Dan, TX

    Rick said nothing of any significance or meaning. Rick, we know that BUSH was not able to stop any earmarks, it isn't the presidents job. Rick you are as much of an empty suit as your leader, Rush Limbaugh.

    Congress controls earmarks, and if the democrats want to win in 2010 they should remove most of them.

    March 3, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. you said it rick

    Hey Rick – I agree with you 100%. And, as we are so often reminded, Obama has only been in office less than two months. Man, we are in some serious trouble!!

    IMPEACH OBAMA!!!!!

    March 3, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Jesus was a liberal

    Great... the Dems finally get in, and these geezers aren't smart enough to hold on to it. If they only go half as wild as the republicans did then it is over.

    Don't they get it? It may be a small amount of the budget, but it speaks volumes to how seedy the government is run these days. The people have spoken a few times on this. They don't like it. And they aren't going to like it. So if you want to soon become house MINORITY leader I suggest you go right ahead and act like the pompous, out of touch, limo liberal that you seem to be.

    March 3, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Tom

    Um, Dan, hate to break it to you, but Obama can veto bills coming out of Congress. And since the Senate cannot override a veto without the support of Republicans, Obama can control if earmarks get into bills. He can just vote no on every bill until Congress changes tunes.

    March 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Proud American

    Someone should have asked the Idiot who has the final signature on the bill.

    March 3, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Big John

    Hoyer is another career politician who has outlived any usefulness that he may have once possessed. Term limits is whats required to get rid of these elitist, you-owe-me congressional leeches on the public.

    March 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. AndyL

    Of course congress will get to decide because Obama will vote present

    March 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Lesley

    With the mood of the taxpayers now, statements like this one from Hoyer will ensure his defeat in the next election. I hope he's writing this down.

    March 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. still hoping

    I thought it would take at least 6 months for obama's total inexperience to show since I believed the cdemocratic congress would side with him publicly until then.

    It's been less than two months and everyone is pushing him around especially Jack in the Box- Pelosi, (did everyone else notice how comical it was the way she jumped out of her seat about every 10 seconds during his address to the nation? I was on the floor laughing at her!!!), Reid, Great Briain, hell even France can push him around and France is afraid of everything.

    March 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Seen it all before

    Now this IS NOT change that America voted for. Get these earmarks out of the budget – we can't afford them. Obama better veto this budget or he will not get my vote next time!!!!!

    March 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Jim

    Dan, Tx: Haven't you gotten it yet? Earmarks are payback to cronies for putting you into office. The Dem's or Republicans are not going to
    take them out. They can't afford to. Until we start removing those that vote for these illicit payouts, we will continue to have them.

    March 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. S.M.R.

    Mr. Hoyer: If you allow congress to decide the earmark issue, that is crazy. To many in Congress that would say : You added an earmark, now I want to add a earmark and so on and so forth....... Talk about in fighting. Lets say NO EARMARKS, only important monies spent. Hear me Mr. Hoyer!!!

    March 3, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    The Bridge to No Where was a Republican earmark. The current Alaskan (R) governor used earmark money to build a road that goes to the bridge than will never be built,

    Lots of people, of both parties, have pork grease on their hands and that's a fact that can not be covered up by any color of partisan lipstick.

    March 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Do the Right Thing

    Hoyer should shut up and accept Obama's direction on this. It's not about who's right. No, it's about what's right. That means ditching earmarks. Hoyer . . . button your mouth, control your emotions, and do what's right.

    March 3, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. jimbo

    AH another scum politican that listens to no one. in 2010 lets
    send this a– home

    March 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Zion

    Thank you Jim. The only change that both parties want to see is the change in your pockets.

    --
    Dan, Tx: Haven't you gotten it yet? Earmarks are payback to cronies for putting you into office. The Dem's or Republicans are not going to
    take them out. They can't afford to. Until we start removing those that vote for these illicit payouts, we will continue to have them.

    March 3, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Jobless

    Hoyer supports wasteful pork spending. Looks like Obama will need to veto Hoyer's spending bills to remind him who is in charge.

    March 3, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    And I thought the republicans were bad about pork in the Bills, They democrats are wrose than a fleet of drunken sailors when it cames to pork, and I should know, I was one of those drunken sailors!

    March 3, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Hey Hoyer...THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. Obama can veto, but they can overrule his vetoes anyway. As long as he vetoes in order to make them look foolish, I'm happy.

    March 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. KW, Vail AZ

    When the VP said that President Obama would be tried during his first 6 months in office, he meant the republicans, the Democrats, our allies and our enemies. All are trying to see how far they can go. And the answer is, not far. President Obama doesn't play.

    March 3, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.