When President Obama was forced this spring to sign a $410 billion omnibus spending bill laden with earmarks, he called it “imperfect” and called for a more transparent process moving forward.
And he’s about to do it again. With the renewed focus on fiscal responsibility on the horizon, Obama is likely to sign a $1 trillion spending bill that passed Congress and contains about $4 billion worth of more than 5,000 earmarks.
“It’s not perfect. The president will continue to try to make progress on those issues,” Gibbs said. “There’s no doubt we’ve still got a long way to go.”Gibbs didn’t give a firm answer but said it is important to keep the government functioning by approving the catch-all spending measure.
In March, Gibbs sparred with reporters by saying they were obsessing on a fraction of a percentage of important government spending.
Gibbs was ready with the stats today, saying there has been a 15 percent decrease in earmarks in the bill. “He’s glad we don’t have the same level as we had in there before,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs also said Obama wanted to stop the practice of omnibus bills and wants Congress to pass appropriations bills.
Republicans have been asking Obama not to sign it and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is the latest to call on Obama to veto the measure, saying it may not be the popular move but “it’s the right thing to do.”
“The president didn’t create this mess, but Congress must be restrained,” Bayh said in a statement.
It also gives Republicans (many whose districts are benefiting from the earmarks they had placed in the bill) more ammunition to target vulnerable Democrats.