March 11th, 2009
12:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: 'An end to the old way of doing business'

President Obama says future earmarks should be made public on lawmakers' Web sites.
President Obama says future earmarks should be made public on lawmakers' Web sites.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama on Wednesday called for a reform of the much-maligned federal earmarking process.

Earmarks are unrelated pet projects that members of Congress insert in spending bills.

The president said it was time for Congress and the White House to embrace a new set of guiding principles.

His remarks came the day after the Senate passed a $410 billion spending bill that included nearly 9,000 earmarks, which are projects designed to benefit individual legislators' districts.

The earmarks in the spending bill are worth nearly $8 billion. Many critics have deemed them as wasteful, and some observers have questioned Obama's pledge to end such spending.

Some lawmakers urged Obama to veto the bill - saying it goes against the president's campaign pledge.

Obama said that while he would sign the bill, which funds the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year, future earmarks should "have a legitimate and worthy public purpose."

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Wally

    Change we can believe in...

    Loose change
    Small change
    Short change

    March 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. pete

    I promise I will go line by line through the budget and reject any earmarks. Next time. I really promise. Trust me.

    Obama has spent $1.2 trillion dollars in 1,200 hours in office. That is a billion dollars an hour.

    Change, chumps!

    March 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Sue

    I agree with Ben: one man's earmark is another man's job! The really unfortunate thing is that all these projects will help the economic recovery-I don't care if it's a bridge in Iowa that needs fixed, or the potholes in Michigan roads...every one of these projects will give people JOBS, which equates to money in the system..tax dollars and spending dollars. Money for poor childrens' lunches helps them learn, which helps keep them in school. Money for food stamps comes back to us threefold as those folks them use their 'food money' to buy other things like clothes that spur those industries. The term 'earmark' has gotten a dirty name thanks to McCain, but the reality is that these things are not evil.
    Does the system need changed? Of course. But to lay this all on Obama's breaking a campaign promise is crazy.

    March 11, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Scott, Tucson

    Bush is not signing this over bloated spending, pork laden bill, Obama is...

    March 11, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Makes me laugh. The GOPers have significant earmarks in this bill and it is urgently needed budget money for running the country. It can't suffer a delay like a veto would cause, so, if he vetoes, the veto will get overturned and it will effect his political capital significantly...not to mention it would likely make the populace extremely angry with Congress for going against the still very popular POTUS on an issue that he would, if he vetoed, likely get alot of public support. The calls for a veto are purely politics though. Boehner and/or his ilk will say "veto it" but then vote to overturn his veto. Moreover, they want America angry with Congress because Congress is overwhelmingly Dem right now and 2010 is around the corner. So laugh, then yawn. He's doing the most pragmatic thing he can by not vetoing it.

    March 11, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. William

    Credibility is an issue in this debate. After compaigning on a platform of change, transperency, and accountability you cannot sign into law a bill with $8 billion in earmarks and then expect anyone to take you seriously when you say: future earmarks should "have a legitimate and worthy public purpose." Earmarks are earmarks now or in the future, credibility lost.

    March 11, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. LISA

    I understand what you're doing Mr. President. You'd be fighting with the Senate and the Congress for months trying to strip that bill of earmarks right now. You have to lay the rules out first before you can veto or take any other action. He can't afford to alienate Congress at this time. You know most of them (Repulicans) are slow. They still will have their panties in a tight (Democrat & Republican) but first lay out the rules. He can't just come in shouting orders to Congress. Where would that get him? or us?

    March 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Kim09

    I cannot believe that after the ridiculous stimulus bill or should I say spending bill – that had so much more crap then good – that they are doing it again with our money and there are actually people out there that this is a good thing & way good job Obama. Obama says in campaign that no more earmarks, etc. But the stimulus & then this porkulus bill is full of it & he says that he has no choice but this will stop in the future. Whatever....it is scary to think where this administration is going to take us! So much for his promise of change. It's not just more of the same.....it is worse!!!!!

    March 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Mike

    have a legitimate and worthy public purpose – – nice loophole

    March 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Veridico

    Obama can say whatever he wants, but nothing is done/o.k. until Pelosi/Reid say so.

    March 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. demwit

    I love Obama.., he can do no wrong.

    March 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. angrysob in VA

    Sen Obama pledged to cut earmarks during the election. It would be great to see him kick this mess back and ask for the earmarks to be cut out. He won't because he's full of you-know-what! You Obama supporters are looking like nothing but a bunch of fools. Nothing but business as usual – No change we can believe in!

    As far as the highest ethical standards of ANY administration. Another one bit the dust yesterday.

    It will be easy to spot Obama voters soon. They'll be the folks walking around looking at the ground and muttering "What a fool I was to believe him."

    Hope you're happy now CNN and NBC! You guys never challenged this guy. The toughest interview Obama ever had was with Bill O'Rielly!

    March 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. RealityKing

    This is what you get when you elect a man that doesn't even do his own family budget..

    March 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Alan

    "Yes, uh we um are going to change things, yeah that's it, yes we are going to change things in the future. Um right now we have to do it this way and I know I promised change, but um yeah this is all Bush's fault, yeah he is the one that should have signed this."

    It is amazing to me to see how many "smart" people are fooled by this guy! It's just AMAZING!!!

    March 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Bob

    President Obama – for once stop catering to the cameras and go with your conscience. Veto the Omnibus bill – it makes no sense. Stop being led by Congress – you won the election, they didn't. I know you and your family's lives are well taken care of from here on out – you won't have to worry about the deficit and the burden on you kids and grandkids because you'll make your millions after you leave office, but for the rest of us, please leave any semblance of our kids' future in tact.

    March 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Terise

    This bill has 40% of earmarks belonging to Republicans. If they really didn't want earmarks, once again the replublican miss an opportunity to provide constructed action .

    If they Republican really wanted to proved they were against earmarks why didn't each republican remove their indiviual earmarks, therefore this bill would have only contain earmarks from the dem than let president Obama sign it.

    But with all the big talk we know no Republican removed all their earmarks did they???????? Just like children when are they going to stop complaining so much.

    As soon as you see a republican at a mic be ready for childlish complaining no

    March 11, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Jon

    This guy has never seen a spending bill he couldn't support.

    I guess we should all follow gov'ts lead and start taking out credit cards to pay our existing credit cards. It is no different than what our elected "leaders" are doing.

    It does seem however that the president doesn't have the backbone to stand up to the speaker. I guess the rumors are true that he is not his own man and is a puppet of an unseen, but powerful force behind the scenes. If he had vetoed this I would probably think different.

    March 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Mari

    I am amazed at the vile comments from the far-right. You people never learn, that it is your hateful comments, your mean- spiritedness, your propaganda that cost you the elections and will again!

    Last week an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 68% of Americans believe Obama is doing a fine job. Wonderful!

    The GOPers don't "get" that Bush, Limbaugh and the rest of your party's elite, have turned America completely OFF. We can not stand the vile, the obstruction, the constant meanness.

    The GOP does not offer new ideas nor solutions...... only the same old tiresome vile.

    March 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. JJ12345

    Has he checked with Pelosi to make sure that not having earmarks are ok?

    March 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Lisa

    What do people want him to do?

    I could care less what Pres. Obama does the rest of the time he is in office. As long as he doesn't start a war I am happy.

    After Bush the second wrecked this country Obama really doesn't have to do much to live 'up' to the Bush standard.

    March 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Jon

    The DOW was going up this morning, but is starting to fall as yet another poor policy is enacted by PBO. Anyone else wishing gov't would stop "doing something"?

    March 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. aware

    Just more obfuscating rhetoric from the teleprompter guy! Obama is not trustworthy or honest. He does not walk the talk. He is a coward with less backbone than Co-Pres Pelosi, and she is a radical far left-wing nut! :(

    March 11, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. xcusme

    Keep it transparent.. Let the people know which republican and democrat got what. At least we are hearing more about them than we have in the past. I don't like them but I'm not in charge.

    March 11, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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