Washington (CNN) - Tea Party leaders have "fire coming out of their ears" over the massive $1.1 trillion dollars Omnibus spending bill pending before Congress. Tucked into the legislation that would keep the government running for the next fiscal year are more than $8 billion dollars in earmarks, requested by lawmakers in both parties.
It sounds like "hyporkrisy" to Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. Her group backed GOP candidates in the 2010 election who promised to root out wasteful pork-barrel spending in Washington. She warns any republican who supports the measure risks a primary challenge in the next election cycle.
"We will go after them. We're not going to accept it. We are absolutely not going to accept it. I mean there are all kinds of pork in there," Kremer told CNN.
Several top republicans in Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, have asked for millions of dollars worth of earmarks in the Omnibus bill. According to the spending watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, Cornyn has 51 earmarks in the legislation totaling $93 million dollars. The group says McConnell's 42 earmarks add up to $86 million.
At a news conference Wednesday, Cornyn and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, vowed to vote against the measure they ridiculed as the "ominous bill." When pressed by reporters about his own earmarks in the bill, Cornyn denied he was being hypocritical. "I intend to vote against those earmarks because I think the American people sent a message on November the 2nd saying they want a new way of operating in Washington."
Sen. John McCain has spent the last two days on his Twitter account, tweeting his favorite earmarks hidden in the legislation. Last night the Arizona Republican pointed to an earmark worth $10 million dollars establishing a foundation honoring the late Democratic congressman John Murtha, who was considered one of the kings of pork on Capitol Hill.
The Omnibus controversy is just the latest irritant to many Tea Party leaders who oppose the tax cut compromise between the White House and republican leaders in Congress.
"I know the politicians think we won't remember when elections roll around," said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "We're smarter than they think," he warned.