Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Senate doesn't steer clear of earmarks in stimulus

Earmarks on livestock are easier to count than earmarks in the Omnibus.
Earmarks on livestock are easier to count than earmarks in the Omnibus.

For weeks, President Obama and his aides have said it is critical that the economic stimulus package not contain any "earmarks," projects that are often viewed as wasteful or frivolous. This week, Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs declared they had succeeded.

At his daily briefing on Feb. 2, 2009, Gibbs said the bill contains "unprecedented accountability and transparency.  There are no earmarks in this bill.  The information on the projects that will be funded in this legislation will be available online, as you know, at www.recovery.gov .  There will be an oversight board that will monitor the progress of each project and address any problems that are involved early and aggressively."

Obama made a similar claim in an interview with ABC on Feb. 3, saying, "If you take a look at the bill, the fact is, there are no earmarks in this bill, which, by the way, some of the critics can't claim for legislation they've voted for over the last eight years."

Given all the complaints Republicans have made about the bill, we wondered if Gibbs and Obama were right. Here is our report.