Bush Stuffs Spending Bills with Earmarks for His Daddy and Wife
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This post, written by Satyam Khanna, originally appeared on Think Progress
On Monday, President Bush explained his veto of the recent Labor-HHS bill, claiming the "majority" in Congress had abandoned his " clear goals for the Congress to reform the earmarking process" and was "acting like a teenager with a new credit card."
In reality, Bush "stuffs his budget with billions for pet projects." According to Senate Democrats, Bush placed 580 earmarks worth $15.6 billion in a recent military and veterans appropriations request, along with "billions" in the energy and water spending bill:
Some presidential earmarks have obvious roots, such as $24 million for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The president earmarked a billion dollars for the Reading First program, which was criticized by government auditors for steering contracts to favored companies. He also sought $8.9 million for the Points of Light foundation, a pet project started by his father, former President George H.W. Bush.
Congress slashed $676 million from Bush's request for Reading First and eliminated the Points of Light funding. Bush retaliated by vetoing the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill.
The Democratic-led Congress has made major advances in earmark reform in contrast to the profligate spenders of recent conservative-led Congresses. An analysis by Citizens Against Government Waste estimates that earmarks in FY08 appropriations bills are " down about 33 percent from the $29 billion in earmarks in FY06 spending bills":
The report showed a significant reduction in one of the largest magnets for earmarks, the Defense appropriations bill. The FY08 measure, by the group's reckoning, included 2,074 projects worth $6.6 billion. This compared to 2,822 projects worth $14.9 billion in the FY06 bill.
The group also said Democrats have made strides against earmarks in the Labor-HHS spending bill, which Bush vetoed Tuesday.
Satyam Khanna is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.