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Morning Bell: White House Fecklessness on Spending Exposed
Posted By Conn Carroll On January 29, 2008 @ 8:54 am In Ongoing Priorities,The Morning Bell | No Comments
President Bush may have promised to veto any spending bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, but as commentators were quick to point out, since Democrats are planning on holding back spending bills till the next President takes office , the threat is virtually worthless. Equally unhelpful is the White House’s Executive Order directing federal agencies to ignore future earmarks included in committee reports but not in the voted on legislation. The next President could issue a new Executive Order his (or her) first second in office nullifying Bush’s policy on the issue.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called congressional and White House Republicans out  for their inconsistency on the issue: “I think Republicans have pulled their punch on earmarks. It looked like a very lukewarm approach. They want to beat a loud drum, but when it comes down to it, they want their earmarks.”
It didn’t have to be this way. Bush had every right to issue an EO directing federal agencies to ignore earmarks included in the committee report from the current spending bill. Committee reports reflect the views of a particular committee, not Congress as a whole, and so they do not meet the bicameral passage requirement to attain the force of law as established in Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution . The following exchange from the Senate floor in 1982 illustrates this point:
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Mr. President, will the Senator tell me whether or not he wrote the committee report?
Mr. DOLE. Did I write the committee report?
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Yes.
Mr. DOLE. No; the Senator from Kansas did not write the committee report. …
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Mr. President, has the Senator from Kansas, the chairman of the Finance Committee, read the committee report in its entirety?
Mr. DOLE. I am working on it. It is not a bestseller, but I am working on it.
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Mr. President, did members of the Finance Committee vote on the committee report?
Mr. DOLE. No.
Mr. ARMSTRONG. Mr. President, the reason I raise the issue is not perhaps apparent on the surface, and let me just state it: …. The report itself is not considered by the Committee on Finance. It was not subject to amendment by the Committee on Finance. It is not subject to amendment now by the Senate. … If there were matter within this report which was disagreed to by the Senator from Colorado or even by a majority of all Senators, there would be no way for us to change the report. I could not offer an amendment tonight to amend the committee report.
A party cannot pretend to be against wasteful undemocratic spending while at the same time participating in the process that allows these practices to continue.
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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/01/29/morning-bell-white-house-fecklessness-on-spending-exposed/
URLs in this post:
 Democrats are planning on holding back spending bills till the next President takes office: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/28/AR2008012803272_pf.html
 called congressional and White House Republicans out: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/bush-targets-earmarks-2008-01-29.html
 Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm1780.cfm
 K Street lobbyists: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/lobbyists-see-a-new-chance-with-stimulus-2008-01-29.html
 dozens of interests eager to get a free ride on the first must-pass piece of legislation of the year.: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/28/AR2008012802413.html
 new study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124103159.htm
 Associated Press: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080128/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_iraq
 The Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f0f2a32e-c2d6-11dc-b617-0000779fd2ac,dwp_uuid=97aa2956-c392-11dc-b083-0000779fd2ac.html
 violating the Americans with Disabilities Act: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_8104538?source=rss&nclick_check=1
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