Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bush backs reform of congressional earmarks

It's wonderful what an election can do. Here's the president, in his Saturday radio address, calling for an end to the slippery "earmark" process that Congress uses to spend without leaving tracks:
Earmarks are spending provisions that are often slipped into bills at the last minute, so they never get debated or discussed. It is not surprising that this often leads to unnecessary federal spending -- such as a swimming pool or a teapot museum tucked into a big spending bill. And over the last decade, the Congressional Research Service reports that the number of earmarks has exploded -- increasing from about 3,000 in 1996 to 13,000 in 2006. I respect Congress's authority over the public purse, but the time has come to reform the earmark process and dramatically reduce the number of earmarks.
The full address is posted at MarketWatch.
And here's the better-backgrounded Associated Press version of the story, as carried by CNN.

Giving credit where it's due, let's note that Democrats in Congress have already declared an intention to reform the earmark process.

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