In his second State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to veto any bill containing earmarks:
And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. I will veto it.
The official transcript notes the line was followed by applause. After a decade of reckless bipartisan spending and earmarks like Alaska’s infamous Bridge to Nowhere that captured the attention of the public, the reaction of lawmakers was understandable.
Of course, the pledge came just a little over a month after the President signed a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that contained roughly 6,000 earmarks. And as CATO noted, the President’s public pledge was quickly modified:
This past week was a pivotal one for all of America. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare’s individual mandate as a tax sent shockwaves across the country. Heritage Action released the following statement from CEO Michael A. Needham:
“America’s system of checks and balances ensures the Supreme Court’s misguided decision will not be the final word on President Obama’s government takeover of the healthcare system. Although the Court failed to provide a much-needed check on federal power, we have every bit of confidence the American people and their elected representatives will.
“Indeed, since the debate began in August 2009, Americans have vocally opposed President Obama’s approach to health care, which remains unaffordable and irresponsible. As such, Congress must repeal the law in its entirety.”
This statement was cross-posted on Rip & Reader, and Heritage Action was mentioned in the following articles based on our response to the decision:
Earlier today, the House and Senate voted on the Highway and Student Loan Bill (H.R.4348). The legislation reauthorized various surface transportation programs through fiscal year 2014 at a cost of $120 billion and extends the 3.4% rate on Stafford loans for one year. The Highway bill bankrupts the Highway Trust Fund by 2015, and the student loan bill costs $5.9 billion in order to help a small percentage of incoming college students pay just $7 less a month in student loans four years from now. The votes are listed below, along with a breakdown of how Republicans and Democrats voted.
Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R.5972). The act provides a net of $51.6 billion in appropriations for related programs in fiscal year 2013, and increases spending on numerous programs, including the Essential Air Service, Amtrak, and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, all of which have been identified as wasteful. The vote is listed below, along with a breakdown of how Republicans and Democrats voted.
Today, the House and Senate are rushing to complete a $100-plus billion monstrosity that combines transportation, student loans and food insurance. There are many reasons to oppose the bill (Heritage Action Key Vote: NO), and Table 3 from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the bill is another reason:
Notice all the c’s?
The subsequent footnote explains that the bill would cause the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to “be exhausted in fiscal year 2015.” In other words, the bill BREAKS the federal highway trust fund. Last year, House Republicans recognized that “current program funding levels are not sustainable” and offered reforms to realign spending with revenues.
Unfortunately, the list of absurdities goes on and on. Two are worth highlighting in the context of the Pledge to America: