Ditching 90 percent of earmarks in Federal Budget?

John Fund at OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary writes:

After expressing disappointment at the thousands of earmarks stuffed into the foot-tall Omnibus spending bill passed by Congress, Mr. Bush told reporters: "I am instructing the budget director to review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."

The president gave no details, but South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a vocal critic of earmarks, has an idea what the president may have in mind. He has long cited a Congressional Research Service opinion that 90% of earmarks are suspect because they were slipped into committee reports and not written into law. "These non-legislated earmarks are not legally binding," Mr. DeMint says. "President Bush could ignore them. He doesn't need a line-item veto." The Club for Growth reports that Mr. Bush might be planning an executive order that would tell federal agencies simply to ignore Congress' earmarks if they aren't written into law and spend the money on higher priorities.



Blogger Dan Paden said...

On the one hand, that is unbelievably cool. On the other hand, it makes you wonder why on earth presidents haven't been doing it all along.

12/22/2007 8:18 AM  
OpenID AFUMCBill said...

From the WSJ:

Asked by CNBC's Larry Kudlow last week about earmarks, GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell replied that, "Well, there certainly have been some bad earmarks in the past. But you've got to remember, you can knock out all the earmarks, and it wouldn't save any money."

I think Mr. McConnell just hung out a "Replace Me Please!" sign.

12/24/2007 7:36 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Afumcbill:

Despite how upset one can get about earmarks (and I for one have criticized them), but McConnell is right that as a percentage of government spending it is quite small, just a fraction of one percentage point.

12/25/2007 1:39 AM  

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