State of the Union Speech to Decry Earmarks
This evening, President George W. Bush is expected to speak about his planned executive order limiting the use of earmarks. Pork may be a big issue in the presidential election.
On Jan. 29, President Bush is set to issue an executive order “directing agencies to ignore any future earmarks included in report language, but not the legislation,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Earmarks are funding appropriations slipped in by legislators for particular projects, such as museums and local infrastructure. Some critics, such as the founders of EarmarkWatch.org, a government spending watchdog, argue that earmarks are primarily used to curry favor with voters and political donors.
On Jan. 25, Republican members of the House of Representatives presented a letter to congressional Democrats asking them to join the GOP in a bipartisan attempt to curb pork barrel politics.
In November 2007, Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D.-Ill.) contended that the Democrats have worked to do away with earmarking, instituting requirements that sponsors identify and fully outline their projects. “To ignore our reforms as if they never occurred and to criticize us for not ending a practice we never pledged to end is disingenuous,” wrote Emanuel.
CNN writes that Republicans will probably try to make pork barrel spending an issue in the coming election.
The Hill, a newspaper based in Washington, D.C., writes that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) allocated a total of $530 million in pork in 2007—more than any 2008 presidential candidate.
Conversely, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) has not requested any earmarks.