In Defense of Pork: Reid Vows to Fight Obama, GOP on Earmarks

By Maya

Dec 16, 2010 4:09pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today mounted a passionate defense of earmarks, hitting out at President Obama and Republicans alike. Reid said Republicans who oppose the massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that includes their own pork projects are hypocrites. “You can’t have it both ways,” he railed. “You can all look it up in the dictionary yourself, but I bet if you went to ‘H’ in the dictionary and found ‘hypocrite,’ under that would be people who asked for earmarks but vote against them.” Reid’s defense of pork projects today was not only directed at Republicans, but also at President Obama. “I am convinced that I do not want to give up more power to the White House, whether it’s George Bush or Barack Obama. I’m going to fight as hard as I can against President Obama on these earmarks, and my Republican colleagues who hate to vote for them but love to get them,” he said. “We have a constitutional duty to do Congressionally-directed spending and I don’t want to give up that responsibility,” he stated. “I can’t want understand why some of our more conservative members here want to give up their power. I don’t understand that.” “I can’t accept the fact that people are saying, ‘Why should we vote to accept Congressionally-directed spending?’ That’s our job. That’s what we’re supposed to do.” To hammer home his point, Reid even removed a pocket Constitution from his jacket and held it up for the media.   Reid was speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill following a Democratic caucus meeting. He said he intends to introduce the 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion bill sometime in the next 24 hours. The bill contains well over 6,000 earmarks totaling around $8.3 billion. A group of GOP senators including Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, have said they intend to force an oral reading of the bill on the Senate floor, a process that could take around 50 hours. Earlier today the Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell introduced a one-page stop-gap spending bill – free of earmarks – that would fund the government until February 2011. “We can pass this 2,000-page bill – spending half a billion dollars a page – or we can do this 1-page clean continuing resolution through February 18 of next year. That’s the choice we have,” McConnell said this morning on the Senate floor, holding up copies of both bills.

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