H.R. 1105 the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009
During the Bush Administration many mused if Dick Cheney was really running the Government and Bush was merely the "puppet". Many argued that Bush was not "smart enough" to actually know what is going on.
One might ask the same thing about Barack Obama? Is he the president, or are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid running the show. HR.1105 the Omnibus Appropriations Act may well give we the American people an indication as to whom is really running the country.
This 2009 appropriations bill was passed over by President Bush because it contained too many earmarks and wasteful spending. Will Obama 'rubber stamp' this bill, or will he use this as an opportunity to send a message to congress that HE runs the show. Without his signature many government programs run out of money, March 6th. While it would be easy for him to say this is "old business" , given the dire economic situation of the country will he use this as an opportunity to send a fiscal responsibility message?
The Bill is on the government website
But is a scanned image and therefore not search-able. Apparently Pelosi did not get that memo from Obama about Government transparency, estimates are that there are between 5-9000 earmarks contained in this legislation, totaling somewhere between 3.8 to 5 BILLION dollars!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday defended the coming spending spree, She called the bill , "the unfinished business of last year, when the president refused to address the priorities and needs of the American people."
Reid told reporters, "Please, somebody, write how foolish this earmark situation is. It's ridiculous. We passed the most sweeping lobbying and ethics reform in the history of the country. Earmarks are transparent.".
It would be impossible to read the more than 1000 pages of this bill and pull out the earmarks although many will try. I have spent a few hours scanning various news sources to try to come up with just some of the earmarks in this legislation that have been located. This bill will be fast tracked through congress and may only be slowed down by McCain and other "Anti Pork" Republicans in the senate. It will likelya rrive on Obama's desk with Earmarks intact.
Just a FEW of the many earmarks located so far:
$185,000 for coral reef research and preservation in Maui County, Hawaii.
$142,500 for a museum honoring the late House speaker Sam Rayburn
$300,000 for a science camp curriculum in West Virginia.
$55,000 in meteorological equipment for Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.
$9.9 million for science enhancement at historically black colleges in South Carolina
$5.8 million for the Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate.
$150,000 for renovations to the Westwood Theater in Rexburg, Idaho
$473,000 for the National Council of LaRaza for unspecified purposes.
$95,000 earmark to combat obesity.
So the big question is, what will Obama do? It would be relatively easy for him to assign some staff people today to go through this bill, pull out many of the earmarks and take them to congress tonight and say, "If these earmarks are in this legislation, I am putting you on notice , I will not sign this bill". This would send a strong message to Congress, the financial markets and the American people that he is serious about trimming the deficit and it is not going to be , as he said during his campaign "Washington as Usual". It might even result in some level of confidence being restored to the stock market which has takena beating in the last month as small investors run for cover fearing a deepening recession.
Do you think he will do this? Or area the 'strings' being pulled by Pelosi and Reid become more transparent every day!