Barack Obama says that he will veto bills with earmarks in them–though that “promise” is somewhat suspect–but Harry Reid is bound and determined to ensure that the earmark culture continues to rule Washington:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News that earmarks will return to Capitol Hill despite President Obama’s vow in last night’s State of the Union to veto any spending bill that includes them.
In an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Reid launched a vigorous defense of pork, the pet projects that members of Congress insert into bills to benefit their home states.
“I think it’s taking power away from the legislative branch of government and giving it to the executive branch of government,” Reid said of the president’s plan. “The executive branch of government is powerful enough and I think that I know more about what Nevada needs than some bureaucrat down on K Street.”
“So you think the president is wrong about this?” Karl asked.
“Without any question,” Reid replied.
“I understand it’s great for an applause line, but it’s really not solving anything to do with the deficit. It’s only for show.”
“So you’re saying that earmarks will be back?” said Karl.
“Of course they’ll be back,” said Reid.
I agree with everyone who says that earmarks make up a miniscule portion of the federal budget. They are right. But if the earmark culture cannot be reformed, then how is the political system going to deal with the more substantial portions of the federal budget?