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▣ Cochran vs. Bush -- Defending Earmarks

posted by admin on January 30th, 2008 at 7:27 AM (MST)

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WASHINGTON - President Bush's final State of the Union address got a mixed review from Mississippi's federal lawmakers.
While most Republicans praised Monday's speech, Sen. Thad Cochran, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he opposed the president's attempts to shrink the number of earmarks or local projects sought by lawmakers in spending bills.

"Congress has the sole power under the Constitution to appropriate funds for expenditure by the federal government," Cochran said. "I will oppose any measure which in effect transfers this power to the executive branch."
Bush told the nation he would veto 2009 spending bills unless lawmakers halve the number of pet projects, which totaled nearly 12,000 this year.
"The people's trust in government is undermined by congressional earmarks," the president said.
Bush also ordered federal agencies to ignore future earmarks that are "airdropped" into bills without being considered in committees.
"Both Congress and the president must exercise good judgment and restraint" in spending decisions, Cochran said. But he added, "There is no magic legislation or executive quick fix."
The president's earmark initiative also was criticized by anti-spending groups as not tough enough and coming too late into his final term. They said it is likely most spending bills for 2009 won't be approved until there's a new president in the White House.


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