Reid defends earmarks, blasts some Republicans as hypocrites
December 16th, 2010
06:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Reid defends earmarks, blasts some Republicans as hypocrites

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry gave a full-throated defense of earmarks Thursday and criticized some Republicans for seeking them in a pending government-funding bill despite a recent pledge to ban them.

"Some people who speak out against congressionally directed spending or earmarks are people who have more earmarks than others. They're hoping, of course, it will pass and they can go home and do the press events as they've done with the stimulus money that we have gotten back to the states saying, 'Here I am, cut the ribbon, look what I did.' You can't have it both ways," Reid said at a news conference.

"I bet if you went to 'h' in the dictionary and found 'hypocrite,' under the word would be people who ask for earmarks but vote against them."

The separation of powers is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, including the right of Congress to make decisions about funding, Reid said holding up a pocket-sized copy.

"I am convinced that I do not want to give up more power to the White House, whether it's George Bush or Barack Obama and I'm going to fight as hard as I can against President Obama on these earmarks and my Republican colleagues who hate to vote for them but love to get them," he said.

Just a few weeks ago, many Republicans-including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell– made the very same argument that Congress should not cede its constitutional spending power to the executive branch-until they came out against all earmarks in recent days.

Reid's comments come as the Senate is preparing to vote on a giant bill to fund the government next year. Republican support for the bills is fading, according to a top Republican leadership aide, in part because of all the earmarks in it. However, Democratic leaders aren't convinced and plan a key test vote, probably this weekend, that will need GOP support to prevail.

In response to Reid, a spokesman for Minority Leader McConnell told CNN that of the seven Democrats who voted in favor of an earmark ban recently, only Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is on-the-record opposing the government spending bill.

Filed under: earmarks • Harry Reid
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Our representatives in Congress and the Senate are SUPPOSED to send money to their constituents – the problem comes when people like the late Ted Stevens get millions for their nonsensical projects like the Bridge to Nowhere.

    Could the people of our country pull their heads out and actually THINK for once instead of just reacting hysterically every day to whatever sound bite Fox throws out?

    For Pete's sake, folks! Wake up before all you low-information ignoramuses take our country completely down the toilet! Catch a clue that you are all being used by people like Fox and the Koch Brothers, convincing you again and again and again to vote against your own self-interest!

    December 16, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Kenneth Close

    Earmark discontinuation $8 Billion: 17 Million starving kids $470 Per Child: Screw Reid!!

    December 16, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Mad man

    Earmarks are one thing, stuffing important legislation with wasteful spending on programs that have not been properly reviewed, vetted and debated or properly legislated are completely something else. Continue Liberal Progressive Demowit's, continue...America's citizenry is watching and your heads are going to fit nicely on a pig pole...when the financial pain that 20 some odd million Americans are experiencing is felt by those that have been elected to serve, is when fiscal responsibility will become paramount in our political correction. Guess what dimwits, government healthcare is only as good as the governments ability to fund it, and the way things are going, that does not look good!

    December 16, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Along with the porker earmarks, there are a whole lot more wrong with this bill! Funding to bring that murdering trash from Gitmo to our country so Holder can get some of these animals acquited! There's over a $1B in Obamacare funding, which is an illegal law according to a recent FEDERAL judge's ruling. This 2000 page bill is NOT to be trusted by anyone that actually has the audacity to PAY taxes!

    December 16, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. What is the country coming to

    Go Reid .....let the people know about the bull that the Rep are doing.....its about hat goes out to you.

    December 16, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Nick , California

    Let the taxes expire and start paying our debt!!! The credit card is maxed out and its time to pay for our instant gratification society!!

    December 16, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    Republicans HYPOCRITES!!!!
    If someone SHOWS you who they are, why don't you people believe them?
    Spite and hate is never a good reason BTW

    December 16, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. the real ib

    Reid calling someone a hypocrite - go look in a mirror Reid and see a real one.

    December 16, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Tony

    Earmarks are congressionally directed spending. If the 8 billion dollars in earmarks are taken out, that means the Obama Administration decides how to spend that 8 billion, along with the rest of the money in the 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill. How many Republicans are in favor of that idea?

    December 16, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Mark

    OH ya Harry....we believe whatever you say. What an honorable guy. Send this country to the brink, and then point the fingers at the opposition. America don't buy your crap......

    December 16, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    Reid is such a FOOL.

    December 16, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    Who cares? Play the political finger-pointing games. Just don't pass it. That's all.

    December 16, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Dean

    Harry Reid.................Nevada voters thanks a lot.

    December 16, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |

    Typical GOP, vote against something and then take credit for it when it works. It's the dumb republican voters who keep electing these hypocrites that's baffling. They are out right lied to but vote them back into office, go figure. The gop have successfully dumbed down America so they can stay in office.

    December 16, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. DC Johnny

    The repeated usage of the "stimulus hypocrisy" example by the Liberals continues to be just as dumb as the first time they used it. Just because a Republican governor uses the money funded by the stimulus doesn't mean he agrees with it's allocation to the states. It means that, even though he opposes the wasteful spending, he acknowledges that whether or not his state uses the money, his constituents HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR IT, so they might as well use it.

    Talk about hypocrisy... Reid knows this phenomenon full well and continues to bring it up to score political points.

    December 16, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. A disgusted former Republican

    republicans are so hypocritical over this issue. McConnell, Boehner, and Kyl are some of the biggest earmarkers ever and they try to hoodwink the public into thinking they are against earmarks. It is insane that these PORKERS try to portray themselves as fiscal conservatives.

    December 16, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. bill

    He is right. We need earmarks because small populated states like Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota would get absolutely nothing without them.

    December 16, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |