GOP House members call this "the cherry on top of the stimulus sundae."
Now, I'm proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities. --President Obama, Tuesday, February 24, 2009
One day later The House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill (PDF here, roll call here) that completes the appropriation process for fiscal year 2009. In it there were 9000 earmarks for special projects, the vast majority of which were inserted by Democrats. Conveniently, Obama omitted this spending bill from his earmark free declaration.
Among the goodies being handed out were $100,000 for Maine loberstermen and $200,000 for tattoo removals in California.
But the earmark which best describes the greed and waste of Obama and the Democrats first weeks in power was the earmark requested by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa: $1.8 million for "swine odor and manure management." You know you are dealing with an overloaded pork spending bill when Dems request millions to counter the smell and clean up the mess!
Earmarks and Prior Stimulus Increase Spending 80% Over FY 08!
House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee document the massive increase in government spending represented by the combined stimulus and omnibus spending bills (spending is in billions):
Democrats Defend Porkfest. Republicans Demand Funding Freeze!
"I'm proud of those earmarks, and everybody else who voted for them should be proud of them, too," --House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.)
"We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats"--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, ignoring the fact that congress appropriated far more for agencies than even bureaucrats requested.
GOP House leaders signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi (PDF here) requesting a spending freeze:
"Democratic congressional leaders should abandon their plans to rush another giant spending increase through Congress without public scrutiny, and instead pass a clean bill that freezes spending at current levels. Republicans stand ready to work with our Democratic colleagues and the President to take this first step toward a new standard of fiscal discipline in Washington.." --House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
"We have been on an incredible spending spree, though. We've spent, in this new administration, 32 days, $36 billion a day. If you add all that up, that's as much as the previous administration spent over seven years on both the war on terror and the recovery from Katrina." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senate Republicans also held a press conference to demand an end to the Democrat spending spree (video).
The contrast between parties is clear: Democrats continue to outspend drunken sailors and GOP members of the House and Senate continue to stand up for fiscal responsibility. Anyone who says there is no difference between the two political parties when it comes to spending needs to buy a new calculator. One that can handle VERY large numbers!