In March, President Obama announced he would sign a $410 billion omnibus spending bill containing, according to taxpayers’ groups, 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion, but he said he would push to reform the earmark system. He seemed a little embarrassed about the whole deal, refusing to sign the bill in public or even to release a photograph.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at the time "the rules of the road going forward for those many appropriations bills that will go through Congress and come to his desk will be done differently."
Today Gibbs was asked if the President was contemplating vetoing the $447 billion omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate yesterday — which has more than 5,000 earmarks – as a way of sending a signal to Democrats to stop the earmarks and wasteful spending.
“I've not talked specifically with the president about whether he's going to sign the bill or not,” Gibbs said. “I think the likelihood is that keeping the government running is an important thing. I think you see within the legislation that …the number of earmarks is down. We've made progress on that. There's no doubt we've still got a long way to go, but I think — one of the goals, obviously, is to keep the government functioning.”
Gibbs said he was “led to believe” President Obama would sign the bill.