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.