March 5th, 2009
01:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Pelosi defends earmarks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Speaker Pelosi said Thursday that earmarks are an appropriate function of the Congress."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the latest lawmaker to defend congressional earmarks Thursday in the wake of calls from the White House earlier this week to reform the process.

"The legislatively initiated proposals in the appropriations bill, I think, are an appropriate function of the Congress of the United States," Pelosi said.

But the Speaker also said she does believe Congress should cut back on the number of earmarks: "I certainly agree with the President that we need to have fewer earmarks, that we have to have transparency and accountability.” And she argued that when Republicans controlled Congress the number of earmarks exploded, mocking their fierce criticism now on the issue. "This whole thing on the Republican side about earmarks is so disingenuous," she said.

Pelosi said she planned to work with the Obama administration this year after Congress finishes the $410 billion spending bill to find ways to reduce the number of earmarks in future spending bills.

President Obama has signaled he will sign the spending bill even though it contains over 8,000 earmarks.

Earlier this week, another senior congressional Democrat - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer - also pushed back when asked about President’s Obama’s plans to issue new rules on earmarks. "I don't think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do," he told reporters.

Filed under: Congress • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. where is my ear mark?

    I'm all for it as long as I get a cut of the pie

    March 5, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Beverly, NYC

    Are 8,000 earmarks really needed. Where can I see a list, I will volunteer to go line by line and eliminate a few to those that will include sustainable jobs, any Congress person's vanity project should get the boot, now is not the time to rename bridges and hospital wings, maybe after the country recovers, but not now. No need to reduce futrure earmarks do it now!

    March 5, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Rob

    The Communist Government of China is more fiscally conservative than The Speaker of the House. When that happens, you've got problems.

    March 5, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Darko

    If they govt can fucntion without the earmark, then it has absolutely no place in the bill.

    Get this stupid witch out of Congress.

    GOVT GOVT GOVT, that's all they know.

    Reporter: Mrs. Pelosi, what did you have for breakfast the morning?
    Pelosi: Government?

    March 5, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Observant

    FORGET THE EARMARKS, CREAT JOBS FOR AMERICANS. On a personally note. Pelosi, I think you should focus on helping Obama and Congress reduce the earmarks now, not next year. Alos, quit talking about what the Republicans did and get to work. Now, is not the time to try to revenege any slight that may have occurred under the Republicians. I wish that the Democrats and the Republiicans would remember that we are all first and foremost people.

    And if both sides keep shoveling ..... in our faces, the revolution won't be far off.

    March 5, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Obama 2.0

    Vote No, I support obama, but not this Bill with the earmanrks.

    March 5, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Herbie

    Earmarks should be banned. Enough is enough is enough.
    Our country is is so deeply in trouble and the politicians, none of them, and I mean none, don't know which way is up. Where in the heck are we going to keep getting all the money from. Let's balance the budget, get the debt down to ZERO, and then consider pigs ears. Oh I had a brain freeze.
    Of course all we need to do is turn to China for money. What the heck they
    own the good old USA anyway.

    Come on CNN. Post this. You never post any of my comments any I don't understand why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. California Gold

    Republicans and Democrats are both fed up with ear marks. The voters are fed up with ear marks. Sarah Palin and Alaska's Bridge To Nowhere still haunts. Very difficult to advance a "good" earmark argument. Not in 2009. Not in this economy.

    March 5, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Marty, Grand Rapids

    A form of "Earmarks" is needed. And yes, It's Congresses right. BUT, it's the American people's money. Instead of the good ole boy network, we need a process that evaluates and prioitizes projects against national needs. We also need to be more responsable when we are borrowing the money from our future. This issue is both a republican and democratic issue and both parties have failed on this. I like McCain's idea of freezing spending to 2008 levels until the earmark process can be reformed. That would atleast save us 8% on the spending bill. I also like the idea of reducing the number of congress members in the house. There is too many to keep an eye on and you get wack jobs like Michele Bachmann sitting in office when they shouldn't be.

    March 5, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. scott

    Why does she need a private jet paid for with taxpayer money??

    This woman is the most Liberal big spender with OUR money. I can't understand how she gets re-elected. Oh wait a minute, it is California with our 42 Billion dollar defecit. Take a look at the mess California is in, that is what will become of this country with the Liberals spending like there's no tomorrow. She has a very low approval rating, but I can't understand how she has any approval at all.

    March 5, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
1 2