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Harry Reid Asks Obama: Can We Please Keep Our Earmarks?

Members of Congress are very defensive of their pet projects. Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the case that federal lawmakers know what their communities need, and thus they should be allowed to keep funding earmark projects.

Reid told reporters:

We are a separate branch of government. Since we've been a country, we have had the obligation, as a Congress, to help direct spending. We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats buried in this town someplace, to take care the needs of the state of Nevada, Washington and New York. We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats.

One fellow Democrat disagrees with Reid: Barack Obama. The president thinks it's time to put aside earmark spending, a process that Congress has passed abused.

Whose side are you on — the pork's or the president's?


Join The Conversation
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Most of these porkey little projects are too frivolous for the state or local community to pay for. They do think it is fine for residents of other states to fund those same projects. When is it going to dawn on the recipients of this “free money”, that they are paying for other frivolous projects that did not deserve local funding in other states and communities.
stephley stephley 8 years
Bella's photoshop?
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Where do they get these pictures?
stephley stephley 8 years
This was in Business Week in January 2007: "The new Congress has agreed to take action on earmarks, the budget items best known as "pork projects." Think, for instance, of the $13.5 million that helped subsidize last year's World Toilet Summit in Ireland, an expenditure worthy of inescapable jests about fiscal incontinence. IN A MOSTLY PARTY LINE VOTE 280-152 vote last Friday, the House passed rules changes requiring that both the spending projects and their sponsors be disclosed on the internet at least 48 hours before they are considered on the floor. Congressmen will also be required to justify the public need for the expenditures, and certify that they won't benefit financially from them." Pelosi pushed those through in the House. There need to be more earmark reforms, but to simply eliminate them all just means they'd be called something else and snuck into bills in a different manner.
flutterpie flutterpie 8 years
i think its funny that reid and company were screaming "change" during the elections but when "change" gets dropped on their doorstep, they run the other way.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
"Members of Congress are very defensive of their pet projects."'re kidding! You mean to tell me not all of this money is going strictly to aid our ailing economy?
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
UnDave, I am a little confused by your comment. You say that it;s not the federal government's job to allot money to state and community level projects, but also say that it's okay if that money originally comes from the feds. By laying out the specific projects that the states have, the federal government is better able to determine how much federal funding each state actually needs. Plus, if the project involves something that could involve multiple states, like high speed rails and wildlife monitoring, how would you decide which state would need to pay for it? I'm just not so sure that the "all earmarks are bad!" rallying cry is right. There are certainly some wasteful ones (road to nowhere...), but the system itself isn't the problem.
kranky kranky 8 years
Go Team Obama. :faint:
babaloo babaloo 8 years
This country has. no. money. None. It's irresponsible and selfish to continue to borrow money. The tax burden in the future will be enormous. Inflation will be eventually be horrible. I believe Obama stated in his joint session address: "Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars" That means you too Reid.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
Is this even a question? If it hadn't been so heavily abused in the past, perhaps Reid would have a point. Given the current climate though, sucks to be a state's "pet project".
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I agree that sometimes government funding needs to go to specific communities, but overall, that is not the federal government's job. I think the local and state government should be in charge of figuring out what projects they need to take care of in their community, and figure out how they are going to fund those (The funding could come from the US government, but through the state gov.)
Pegona Pegona 8 years
I guess Reid's theory is adequate, but in practice earmarks are all too often wasteful and self-serving for congresspeople. Slash 'em, Barack.
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