Sen. Harry Reid Says Earmarks Will Return, Despite Obama's State of the Union Vow

Pork will never die! Reid Guarantees Return of Earmarks

ByABC News
January 26, 2011, 12:16 PM

Jan. 26, 2011 -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News that earmarks will return to Capitol Hill despite President Obama's vow in last night's State of the Union to veto any spending bill that includes them.

In an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl, Reid launched a vigorous defense of pork, the pet projects that members of Congress insert into bills to benefit their home states.

"I think it's taking power away from the legislative branch of government and giving it to the executive branch of government," Reid said of the president's plan. "The executive branch of government is powerful enough and I think that I know more about what Nevada needs than some bureaucrat down on K Street."

"So you think the president is wrong about this?" Karl asked.

"Without any question," Reid replied.

"I understand it's great for an applause line, but it's really not solving anything to do with the deficit. It's only for show."

"So you're saying that earmarks will be back?" said Karl.

"Of course they'll be back," said Reid.

In addition to blasting Obama's anti-earmark plan, the Nevada senator also sounded less than impressed with the president's proposed five-year spending freeze on discretionary spending.

"I'm not enthusiastic about it because it's not broad enough," Reid said. "We have to make sure that defense is included in that because certainly defense spending is getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

Reid also said the Senate will hold a vote on the House-passed health care repeal if the top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, demands one. Reid said he would not bring the repeal to a vote, but acknowledged that the Senate GOP could use procedural means to force one.

"I'm certainly not going to bring it up, but we have procedures in the Senate where if somebody, if they wanted to try to increase costs for seniors, if they wanted to take away the ability to have a pre-existing disability…" Reid said.

"So if Mitch McConnell presses the issue there will be a vote in the Senate on repealing health care reform?" Karl asked.