March 5th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should Pres. Obama veto spending bill stuffed with pork?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some Democrats are calling on President Obama to veto a $410 billion dollar spending bill because it's too expensive and includes too much pork.

Democratic Senators Russ Feingold (left) and Evan Bayh (right) say the $410 billion measure is too costly and contains too much pork.

Senators Russ Feingold and Evan Bayh both say they will vote against the measure. The bill - which would keep the federal government running through this fiscal year - includes $7.7 billion in more than 8,000 pet projects, or earmarks.

Bayh says the bill "requires sacrifice from no one, least of all the government." He calls the measure "tone deaf" and points to a disconnect between the belt-tightening average Americans are going through and what the government is doing. Feingold says Mr. Obama should veto the bill and tell Congress to "clean it up" and "do it over."

But other Democrats have defended the bill, saying it's necessary to counter the economic downturn and restore budget cuts made by President Bush. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has defended earmark request calling them "the congressional initiative process."

Meanwhile President Obama is expected to sign the bill once it gets to him. The White House says the legislation needs to be passed to finish "last year's business" and that the president will work with Congress to reduce earmarks in the future. At a meeting last week, the president reportedly urged Democratic leaders to "limit" future earmarks.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama veto the $410 billion spending bill in order to remove $7.7 billion in pet projects?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Janne writes:
He should if he wants to keep any credibility with the American people. All I have heard from him is change and accountability, but I have yet to see him produce either. He demands that Wall Street be held accountable but he does not have the backbone to hold Pelosi and Reid accountable.

JD from North Carolina writes:
So, $7.7 billion is 1.878% of the overall budget. I suspect the other 98.12% of funding is more urgently needed than more partisan bickering and posturing. Ignore the so-called "fiscal conservatives".

Jim from Milwaukee, Wisconsin writes:
Yes, but allow the sponsors of the earmarks to apply for funding of their projects (out in the open) in a subsequent bill and support those that create jobs or stimulus with money from the stimulus package. You should remember that earmarks are the primary method for representatives to bring federal funding to their constituents.

Marc from Orlando, Florida writes:
Congress chastises the bankers for wasting the stimulus money on extravagant parties and bonuses. Then they do the same thing and disregard the public trust by wasting money on earmarks meant to do nothing more than keep them in office. This is our money they are spending on these worthless projects. President Obama pledged to stop this pork. When is he going to stand up and say enough is enough?

Vinnie from Central Islip, NY writes:
Jack, Due to our failing economy post-Bush, this is not the right time for President Obama to play the tough guy and veto this porky spending bill. The $7.7 billion in pet projects will help to create millions of additional jobs across the country.

Mike writes:
Cream puff of a question, Jack. Of course he should veto the bill. Otherwise he is just like all the other politicians he has been complaining about.

Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Donna Las Vegas NV

    President Obama needs to veto any bill with earmarks. I have had to change my live style and so has the country so should the govt.

    Earmarks is the governments spending spree using credit card they can not afford or payback.

    Start the CHANGE NOW no more earmarks. HOPE FOR CHANGE should start with no more earmarks short and simple.

    Las Vegas does not want or need a Mob Museum. The city needs tourism so people can get back to work.


    March 5, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  2. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    He should review it for wasteful earmarks that serve only special interests and not the public in general and eliminate those or veto the bill. Public minded spending should get through.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Mike Bravo, Wichita, KS

    I would not call eight billion out of 410 billion "stuffed", nor is every earmark automatically pork. I think every earmark should be inspected for the possibility it is an earmark for a bridge to nowhere, and inspected for the 'it will make my brother in law rich' factor, and the 'it will please my largest contributor' factor. and rejected if such factors exist. There are some really good projects out there that need to be funded. I just ask that the sponsors name be prominently attached to EVERY earmark in the final bill.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  4. Jim, from Las Vegas

    Yes! I don't agree with very many of President Obama's policies, but this is one campaign promise he must keep.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  5. Sharon in Virginia

    Jack, if the president thinks it is necessary to veto the bill to remove 7.7 billion in earmarks then he will. If he doesn't then so be it. There are many other issues that are important right now.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  6. john...... marlton nj

    No, he should veto the bill because it is filled with $410 billion of pork

    March 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Jack


    He should to send a message to both Democrats and Republicans

    March 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  8. Roy

    First of all, are all earmarks bad? Is there good sound reasoning and a real need for them? If they are truely needed to help out Americans then what is the problem. If indeed they are nothing but something on a want/wish list that has no revelence to todays problems then toss them.

    It seems that too often if there is a list and one item is bad then they must all be bad. Time to get real.....if it's good call it good....if it's bad call it bad and treat them appropriately.

    Olympia, Wa

    March 5, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  9. Deborah Robinson

    YES! Pork should be lifted from all bills! And, I think it's time we hear another suggestion on what to do with all that money ... why don't we invest it in our schools?! Pay teachers a living wage, refurbish dilapidated schools, pay teachers to give special lessons to adults who can't read, high school drop outs and anyone else who missed the boat the first time around. Purchase materials for schools, underpriviledged children, local public libraries ... help students pay for books and materials in colleges and universities ...

    Teachers will CERTAINLY go out and spend - they will spend on their students, first, most likely! Invest in something that serves ALL of the population ... not just those who already sold the farm and threw the baby out with the bath water! As Christa McAuliffe said – "I touch the future - I teach!" Well, teachers and education will be what saves our nation and our economy, given the chance!

    March 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  10. LM from Fayetteville, NC

    Absolutely. And, they are trying to say it was from last year. it doesn't matter what fiscal year the pork was put on the table. It was a campaign promise. He said "no earmarks".

    March 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  11. Emily Moss

    Obama should not veto this bill. 7.7 billion is less than 2% of the total. Keep moving forward so that we can deal with the really difficult problems like health care and the economy. Our problems are so much more grave than the earmark situation. Deal with it later.

    Greenville, SC

    March 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  12. Sandi AZ

    Absolutely Jack! These people, our representatives in Washington do not listen to the people! I am sick and tired of those old farts doing business as usual. Mr. President please stand up and say NO to these money grabbing, campaign financers, and politians who who depend on these perks for their own personal agenda.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  13. Cassie, NC


    Anyone who thought Obama was going to come in and change Washington overnite was living in a fantasy world, and though I am not happy about the bill I think he will put his foot down just give him some time. I think everyone expected him to come in and change everything overnite but in Washington nothing can be changed overnite it takes time but he also needs the help of others not only in the adminstration itself but also Congress and the American people helping him reach these goals.

    March 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Dennis

    YES! He promised NO PORK, so NO PORK. This Country cannot afford the waste of the past. It shouldn't have been happening all along and it CERTAINLY needs to be weeded out of ANY budget now!!!

    March 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  15. Barbara - NC

    He should itemize which are totally and purely wasteful and send it back. Some of the "pork" means jobs for folks in some of the poor states. Those should not be cut.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Patty Illinois

    No I don't think he should. He has more important things to deal with right now. I'd be curious to see if any of that goes to Arizona. People keep making fun of the hog order part. That is a much needed study in Iowa and Illinois. The waste and the smell is astounding.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  17. Tom, Bradenton

    ABSOLUTELY. He has no credibility if he signs that bill. The nation is on its knees all these corrupt stinking senator scoundrels have in mind is their pork. You can not run on the promise of change and do the same thing. My fellow citizens whinning here will not help write, e-mail or call your Senators.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm |

    Oh Jack I would love Obama to death if he would remove that fat pork in this bill. It is past ashame that anyone in the government would put these pet projects in this bill. I hate it for Obama but he has to get strong and make a stand now, not later now.


    March 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Tina Tx

    One man's pork is another man's treasure. Where do you draw the line? We need jobs but at what cost?

    March 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Joe in DE

    Define pork. One man's pork is anothes bacon.

    Many earmarks are worthwhile – matter of opinion. I think the Dems would be wise to set-up an earmark advisory group including some of the watchdog groups. They to rate them on a scale to zero to 5, promise to drop zero ratings and review ratings 1 to 3.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  21. Michael John, Toronto, Canada

    If the Administration believes the spending bill is last years business, why don't they adopt Sen. McCain's amendment suggesting they cap the spending bill at last years level? The American people aren't against earmarks, they are against government waste and this looks like a lot of waste. President Obama, please veto this bill and show some true strength.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  22. Terry in Iowa

    As a registered Democrat who has supported Barack since day one, I find it quite unfortunate the position the Democrats in congress have put the President. A veto for a relatively small portion of the bill would delay the many needs that it is attempting to address. By signing it, the right wing nuts are given ammunition to attack the President. Frankly, I’m disgusted with the whole lot in congress, chief among them; Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Republicans are nothing but obstructionist for the sake of ideology and the democrats are intoxicated over what they mistaking believe is a blank check. We have serious problems, which need serious solutions, and we need adults not toddlers working to fix what’s broken. The American people are sacrificing; it’s time that our elected officials do the same and it should start with democrats cutting these pet projects and republicans offering solutions.

    March 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  23. Mary - California

    Yes – but will he?

    March 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  24. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    If Obama is going to keep his word, he will veto it. His decision will be a telling moment about his honor and character.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  25. Jane (Minnesota)

    If there is anything in the bill that can't pass a simple cost/benfit analysis (The total tangible benefits MUST be greater than the total costs) then Yes he should veot the bill – after all; he campaigned against ear marks – please don't go back on your word now, Mr President.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  26. Carlo

    This is a more complicated question than people realize. Most folks don't know how many vital programs are operated with so-called "pork" money. I'm sure some of it is wasteful, but this budget was put together in December. What is really amazing me are the Congressmen and Senators who are opposing the budget while asking for the most money in earmarks. There's a good question to ask, Jack.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  27. jp,michigan

    As you once said President Obama, "Words do matter!". Remember your words, no earmarks, line by line veto, transparency, fiscal responsibility. You stat what you want and the Hill has provided the PORK!

    March 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  28. Ethan of Trenton, NJ

    Maybe a line-item veto is in order.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  29. Martha Sample

    Yes he should, let money come down to the people. Richmond va

    March 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  30. Mfelder - Atlanta, GA


    Just because you and others have hang-ups about money, doesn't mean that we all share your fears. I happen to believe that there is an abundance of resources in this country, and if we manage it properly, no one should experience lack and insufficiency. What we are experiencing now in the universe is a correction to the overabundance that was geared in one direction. Things are just balancing out. Earmarks are essential to many states, they provide jobs, research and education dollars that the local and state government and private sector will not provide for many disadvandage communities. For me and my state, I say bring home the Bacon.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  31. cy gardner

    He should veto the bill or have Congress renegotiate it before it gets to him. If he cut half that pork it wouldn't make much difference, AIG will spend that much on bagels this year, but it would fulfill a campaign pledge, boost his approval rating, show Democrats in Congress who the leader of the party is and stick it to the liars on right wing radio and the Fox Propaganda Network. Anything that can accomplish all that must be a good thing. cy gardner, arlington, va

    March 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  32. PJG

    Yes. It is ethically wrong to spend taxpayer dollars to fund pet projects and repay people who funded the politicians trip to the Hill. We need jobs, we need the banking industry to loosen it's hold on credit and we need security in the business section. It would be nice too if Obama would take a bit of interest in the market.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  33. Daniel, Indiana

    Not for the tiny percentage of "pork" that bill contains. It is necessary to curb "pork" spending in government spending, but we need to get our economy revived immediately. The Republicans and Rush are desperate to find fault in the Obama administration and are willing to pick anythig and everything apart for that reason. It is time for the big spenders to get on board and realize that they made major mistakes for their gross overspending over the last eight years, or was it twelve. The time is now to keep America from a depression and to work for the best interest of all Americans.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  34. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, since we don't know what constitutes Pork in this bill, I believe the line item veto is necessary ASAP. That way, instead of trashing the entire bill he can simply cross through those items that are stupid, which I'm sure he will find many.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  35. Jason L

    Yes President Obama should veto the bill, otherwise it will be a huge slap in the face for ALL Americans if he doesn't. Obama pleged to not sign a bill that has pork in it.

    How can he justify his campaign promises if he signs this bill? He will be viewed as a hypocrit and outright liar!

    For the good of the country he needs to veto it and send it back with a strong warning to congress, 1 piece of pork gets another veto. If he does sign it into law, I will reconsider my support in 2012!

    March 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  36. Video Guy

    Veto the Bill and he may see some economic improvement withing days.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  37. Leo, Canada

    Maybe NOT all of it just the one that would NOT stimulate the economy.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  38. Mahdi Warsama

    Jack, I think the president is in beetween rock and hard place. If does not accept some earmarks in these speding bills, he will never be able to pass anything because every 1,000 earmarks or pet project is equal to 1 vote. Therefore, he will rather allow some earmarks than to see all his agenda blocked by Capital Hill earmark earners.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  39. 2liberal

    $7.7 billion out of $410 billion is 2% pork.

    And most of that is earmarks by republicans.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  40. Sherry

    Yes, if now is not the time then never will be the time. Stop whining and start doing!!!

    March 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  41. Michael C. McHugh

    In a depression like this, I would spend as much as possible to stimulate the economy, no matter whetehr it's pork barrel spending or not. If that's the price we have to pay Congress to get them to do what's necessary, then pay it. We can't afford not to spend in this crisis.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  42. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    No! The budget must be passed or the government will come to a halt. In these troubled times, there is no time to waste. I find this Republican charade to be so disingenuous. Four of the five biggest earmarks in the spending bill are Republicans. If Republicans really and truly wanted to eliminate earmarks, they would have given the President line-item-veto power when they controlled both houses of congress and the white house for six years.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  43. Steven

    I'm a democrat and yeah, I think he should probably veto this bill. Its very important, during this first 100 days, for President Obama to stick by his campaign pledges.

    I don't doubt there are legitimate money needs for viable, beneficial programs around the country. But things have to change on Capital Hill and this is as good as anyplace to start.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  44. Joyce Becker-Long Island

    I think that President Obama, before he signs or vetoes the bill, should tell the congressional leaders to trim it cut down on their non-essential pet projects as there is no money at this time for them. First we have to pass a clean budget and not waste money with earmarks. If each congressperson cut one of his projects now, the bill would make a lot more sense and people would agree with the spending in it as it would be a better stimulus incentive for the country to work with. We all have to do our share at this time.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  45. Frank, Connellsville, PA

    Veto the darn thing. Not because of the pork alone, but because just throwing money around isn't working. Need to get Dem, Rep, and Wall Street in same room and figure out what will work and who plays which roles. Maybe then things will look a little brighter.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  46. Allie in San Diego

    Jack, the funds for those "pet projects" total less than 2% of the package. Why would we want to hold up the entire process for that? I would like to see a listing of all those pet projects with the explanation of why the money is needed, though. I think that would help alot of people see what is wasteful and what is not.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  47. clare

    Get all the pork out!! President Obama has to make a stand. Everybody needs to tighten their belts and deal with this situation. The congressmen have to forego some of their stuff too.

    U S Virgin Island

    March 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  48. Jim in Columbia, SC

    Yes, he should veto it. Unfortunately, he will not. He said that he would decrease the reckless congressional spending and cut unnecessary programs with a "scalpel". He has done neither and, instead, has increased spending and programs.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  49. Shannon in TX

    This bill may be "last year's business", but it will have Obama's signature. That alone should be motivation for him to veto this bill and demand that Congress clean it up.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  50. Lynne

    If the President is the leader he claims to be, he will veto the spending bill because of the earmarks. I could care less that it is only 1% of the total bill and I find it totally insulting that it's "last years" bill. It is future money which we cannot afford. It is about time that everybody changes their tax with holding to "10" and stops paying taxes. IRS can't prosecute millions of people and then maybe SOMEBODY will listen to the people for a change !!!

    March 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  51. Bill ffrom Dallas

    Hurray for Feingold and Bayh. As a voter who voted for Pres. Obama, I ask him to veto the bill and tell Congress that he will only sign a bill with no earmarks. While this may be a small percentage of the overall bill, we do not need to add unnecessary spending to this bill. Many Americans are sacrificing things that they would like for things that they need. It is time for our government to do the same and be an example to the American people. What better way for President Obama to lay down the law and say who is in charge? He would also be able to shut up the Republican's, at least for a day.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  52. Kapitalist

    All during his change campaign he did say he would not allow earmarks. He did not how it would not be business as usual in Washington. They changed the terms to let what basically is earmarks to slip by with the stimulus package .He has to stop it now. Letting this one slip by would be just more of the same and once again nothing changes. He has to stand up to Congress, both parities or they'll continue to spend on anything and everything they can.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  53. willie

    That's a definite YES. Some of the ones who voted for him are getting ready to turn on him, I'm starting to feel like one of them.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  54. Ralph Nelson

    No, it's hogwash! The economy needs the stimulus effect of this budget (look at the stock market). Yes, it's disgusting they porked it up. And yes, the Republicans did more than 50% of the porking. But it's spend or Great Depression #2. and the economy does not care were the fuel (money) comes from. Get-em next time. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  55. Cori

    Yes, Obama should keep his word. Otherwise, what good is it if he can't do that?

    March 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  56. john battiloro

    Pork, it's the other white meat!!! Most politicians love stuffed pork and at the Democratic club on the Hill its the most ordered item on the menu!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  57. Christiana

    Yes. It would nice to see him keep at least one promise that he made.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  58. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Depending on where in the US you live, some of the expenditures in the bill seem frivolous, but nothing like we've seen in the past and when take the time to actually examine these expenditures they pretty much all seem to pass muster.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  59. Sophie, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

    President Obama should keep his promise and review each earmarks. If they make sense, then go for it. If it smells funny, then it's pork, he should void them.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  60. Larry in Vermont

    Bring on the line item veto.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  61. Reginald

    No Jack he should not veto the bill. One mans pork is another mans steak. Its only pork when it’s not in your back yard.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  62. Peter

    Mr. Obama
    You campaigned for more than a year on changing the way Washington works. Now PROVE IT. Veto any bill with earmarks.Don't be a slimy politician playing with words, Be a leader

    March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  63. Janie T

    He should absolutely veto this bill and stick to his promises. I don't care if it was "last years business". He is in control now and needs to be held accountable from the day he was sworn in. Also this comment of a household going into bankruptsy every 30 seconds is not honest or valid statistics. He is trying to use the scare tactic to achieve his goals.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  64. monica birakos from whittier, ca

    Jack...big ideas are needed. This is the right bill at the right time. Some of that "pork" is necessary. Would the Republicans prefer a spending freeze that would most definitely lead us into another Great Depression? I hope not. The bill needs to be signed.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  65. john and Rachel Calahan

    The president should veto the spending bill. It is ridden with pork projects which he said while campaigning he opposed. If he has integrity,. he will refuse to sign this bill. THe amount of spending that is being proposed is going to make things much worse for our country.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  66. Heidi, Boston, MA

    What a horrrible example the bill would be of excessive gov't spending and waste. This bill will further bankrupt our country. This bill and these politicians must be stopped from the current economic future they are delivering to our children.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  67. Vera Pennington

    I am a big supporter of our current president....but I'm having a hard time with him supporting this bill with all this unnecessary spending. My family and friends have all had to make concessions to their daily, weekly and monthly spending! If President Obama wants to show Americans that he means what he said on the campaign trail and give us confidence in our governments running of our country he has to veto this bill for one with less pork!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  68. Rhena

    Chicago- Couldn't the President use a line item veto on the pork? No reason to throw out the whole pork chop, just cut off the fat and have dinner.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  69. Marjorie Lominy

    I think he should veto it. But I also can understand why he is choosing to sign it. He has some big legislation coming i.e. the budget and Health care which are more important. You lose some to win big. I also think McCain should stop criticizing and be a leader and get his side of the aisle to eleminate their portion and shame the democrats into doing the same.....But I am dreaming, right Jack.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  70. Bill

    If the pork is not stopped now it will never be stopped.
    Sioux Falls, SD

    March 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  71. don

    i agree with mike bravo – not all earmarks are pork. there are going to be some earmarks that are good, necessary, and will help the economy. knee jerk reactions like automatically vetoing abill aren't smart. we need thoughtful consideration of each item. if you don't live in iowa and raise pigs, you probably won't appreciate things that stimulate the economy in iowa. i think we need to be understanding of everyone's needs and priorities - not just our own needs

    March 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  72. Jim - NY

    Not only should Obama veto the bill, every single member of the House and Senate should be handed their walking papers effective immediately. That's the change the American people need. No more earmarks, no more corporate bailouts, no more pork, and no more aid to irresponsible private citizens that lack the discipline to control their own excessive spending and lifestyles.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  73. Bruce Ohms

    Absolutely! No doubt. President Obama should demonstrate that he understands what the average American has to do to meet ends meet.
    Why should the government live by a different standard? Iowa loves pork. Just ask Senator Harkin. Maybe it's time to switch to a different government diet. Why not change, like someone promised?

    March 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  74. Marty Williams

    As I watched Lieberman yesterday on the news laughing when asked about earmarks for his state, as though this issue is some sort of joke, a sense of rage swept over me. I'd like to know what is so funny about continuing to rip the taxpayers off. President Obama should veto the bill the second it hits his desk. Lieberman and the rest of the crooks should be voted out of office. Maybe that will erase his silly smile.

    Marty Williams
    Houston, Texas

    March 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  75. Laura


    I am sick to death of people saying well Obama can't change things overnight. While that may be true, he can and should at least start to try to fulfill some campaign promises. He made a promise that he would not pass a budget that had any pet projects in it.

    So which is it Mr. President...real change or something else!

    Laura, Boston

    March 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  76. Chuck Johnson

    He needs to stick to his guns. Send the bill back. What part of "no pork" in the spending bill did they not understand.
    I was clear on what he wanted- why is Congress so in the dark.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  77. SimpleTruth

    Even Obama needs to pick his battles. Since not all pork is bad, and it is less than 2%, I would let this slide and sign. I would make a commentary on the need for the line item veto. Remember just because Obama is president, the useless politicians are still in office. The pork gets added by them. If we wait around until a bill gets created with no pork, our economy will be dead, and sold to the highest bidder...maybe on Ebay.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  78. Robert Allen in Las Vegas

    Earmarks, sometimes called pork, help to put someone to work. So what's the problem?

    March 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  79. Linda in Maryland

    First, the "stuffed with pork" phrase is a bit of a misnomer, isn't it? Less than 2% of the omnibus bill is "pork" which is hardly stuffed. That said, it would be good if there was another way of passing bills without the blatant "I'll support this if you let me add that" attitude. So for that reason only (some of the "pork" is good), I say yes, strip it out for now.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  80. Ron in Dallas


    This pork barrel bill should be vetoed. The pretense that sending this bill back to committee is a setback to potential economic recovery is nonsense. There is no linkage between Congressional Earmark spending and economic recovery; anyone one saying so is pretending that we can spend ourselves into a return to prosperity.

    Congress will continue to act like spoiled little rich girls spending Daddies money until Daddy takes their credit cards away.

    Ron in Dallas.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  81. Carol in Oklahoma

    Yes, Obama should veto this bill as long as it contains pork. At some point we are going to have to draw the line in the sand on this issue. I think it would be a good thing to list every member of the House and Senate and indicate the pork bills they have sponsored in the past year. This is graft and corruption in its most file form. We complain about it all the time, but do nothing about it.

    I'm a life-long Republican. I'm asking my fellow Republicans to offer an alternative to the Presidents plan they are so opposed to. If they believe it won't work, then tell us what will and stop criticizing the plan that is currently before us.

    Our government is losing credibility at home and abroad!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  82. Mac, Florida

    I think most people are not aware that this spending bill is for "discretionary" spending. Obama should absolutely veto this bill. Not only did he promise not to sign anything with earmarks in it but given the size of the national debt and deficits, we can't afford this hang-over discretionary spending from the last administration no matter the amount of pork it contains.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  83. Ann, Cape Cod

    What some call 'pork' are actually items that will create jobs and that are important for the future of our country.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  84. Jeff Allen

    One mans pork is another mans stoplight,however $1.4 million to research swine odor and its affects is a joke. There has to be some prioritizing of these expenditures

    March 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  85. Mark K.

    2% pork is easy on the arteries, pass the bill!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  86. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Yes, Jack. I have to agree with Senator Feingold on this one, a veto is in order on this one. Congress needs to change their method of doing business. In my family if we can't afford something we make do without. That type of mindset should become the new way Congess operates. If the earmark can't stand on its own merits and is part of the budget, then we do without it a while longer. I expect McCain to be the first one to support a veto on this bill. We are to that point now where its raise taxes or forget it, and how many Republicans would you expect to support a tax increase?

    March 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  87. Christopher

    You know what Jack, I'm tired of hearing about the pork and earmarks and how Obama is this and that when it was the republicans who got us into this mess, should he veto the bill no, but maybe cut some of the junk in the bill this is not working for regular americans that receive social security like myself, then maybe we can get bailed out like the AIG and the Auto industry.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  88. Jim

    Veto the pork! Why don't congress take a pay cut, pay on their insurance, give up their fat pensions the way they want the unions to do? The government is trillions in debt, and they keep dishing out the pork. We already know pigs create odor. What needs to be studied? What has happened to our common sense? This pork is just political pay back!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  89. Jerry in Alaska

    NO! Jack you apparently are not aligned with the Dream. Why would the "CHOOSEN ONE" veto one more nail in Americas Economic Coffin? How could Henry Kissingers & the Builder Burgs Dream of Obama leading all into Globalization come to pass if America doesn't fail? Jerry in Alaska

    March 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  90. Chris, Delaware, Ohio

    President Obama ran his campaign on the promises of change, integrity, and bringing a new day to Washington. Is he changing his mind? Does "Yes we can" only apply to his political allies in Washington? The President had the ear of the American people, but I am beginning to wonder who he is really listening to.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  91. Anne-Marie

    How can people wave off 1-2% of the bill, when it amounts to 7 Billion dollars of borrowed taxpayer funds? Do people not realize how much can be done with one billion dollars? That could pay many annual salaries for those that are unemployed.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  92. Mike - Texas

    IF and I mean IF Obama is a man of his word, he will VETO this pork laden bill.

    If Obama doesn't VETO this bill then we will know that HE is NOT to be trusted to KEEP HIS WORD on anything.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  93. Donovan

    We need to redefine "pork". Not all pork is bad,building bridges and other infrastructure sometimes is deemed as "pork". Non existent Grape research and Teapot museums are real "pork" and should be relabeled as "BULLs*@%" legislation in these times. Let s quit lumping all these thing together under one name. I bet if you looked for true "pork" and calledl it BS and just called the rest "earmarks" you would find that earmarks only amount to about 1% and that s not too shabby. The tag "pork" is to cute to be used to label these ugly earmarks.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  94. Barbara NY

    I have a better idea. Why don't the voters to ask the morons that represent them to remove the pork that they put in the bill. We shouldn't be blaming Pres. Obama for the excesses that the members of Congress attach to important bills.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  95. Jim Donofrio

    It's not a surprise at all, that Obama would allow 8000 pet projects, and almost 8 billion dollars of pork in this bill. He's all talk. He's using our money to pay back his supporters. This is the most partisan administration in history, and you think he could have at least appointed a treasury secratary that paid his taxes. The investors in this country have no confidence in him and his administration, and the stock market reflects it.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  96. Bob

    OK, I'm seeing $8 billion dollars in "pork" in a $410 billion dollar bill. Is that right? If so, for the mathematically challenged, that's 2 percent pork. Get lives that matter people.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  97. Ray Nicholas

    He should send it back and it should not reach his desk again until every item is removed that does not meet criteria established to promote economic recovery.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  98. Jeff

    I think we should stop spending entirely. No roads, no bridges, no taxes, nothing. People should just stock up on guns and learn to fend for themselves.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  99. Jerry - Toronto

    Yes, veto the bill. Period. Next, make a separate bill with nothing but pork, name everyone who wants the money and then have those asking stand in front of the American people and explain to the dime the who, what and why. If they can show (actual documentation) the true be benefits of their proposed project and how the money is going to be controlled to avoid cost over runs, then maybe it can be kept in the bill.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  100. Zach in Burlington, VT

    First, let's break this down: $410 billion spending bill. $7.7 billion is classified as "pork." That represents 1.7% of the actual bill. 1.7%. This is what we are debating. But what is this "pork" money going to? Well, $190,000 for the Guam Public Library, the money to be used to hire a new librarian [job] and repair some of the crumbling infrastructure [jobs!]. $950,000 for a Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, SC...money to build a Convention Center [jobs!!!] and $7,100,000 for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtle populations....jobs!!! This $7.7 billion in "pork" when actually looked at and broken down, a majority go towards projects that will create a job or two, its not like this money is going into the Congressmen's bank accounts, its going to a construction crew in South Carolina, or a team of researchers in Maine to study lobsters [$150,000]. I thought everyone in Washington was for job creation? I thought those in Washington were concerned with solving the most pressing problems facing all of us? I thought spending money, putting money into the economy, any way is what is needed right now? What are we debating? Oh, that's right, 0.017% of the $410 billion spending bill.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  101. Jerry Moorehead

    Why are earmarks tacked on to other bills? Wouldn't it be more effective and transparent if all of these earmarks are put into one bill every year and voted on that way, or they can be brought up on their own and voted on that way. I don't see a reason to pollute the important legislation and spending bills with these earmarks from either political party.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  102. Dan

    I would like to point out the hypocrisy when it comes to pork. Most of us are against it but if pork was cut off to my home state many people would be upset that federal funding of certain items in the state ceased. In fact one of our senators here in Missouri Kit Bond hates pork but has no problem with it if it is targeted to Missouri. So if Obama vetoed every bill with pork in it people's opinion of the practice would change.
    St. Louis, MO

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  103. bk

    He should veto it. We will be in the great depression if they don't stop spending. Bush tried the spend spend spend and it didn't work and now Obama is doing the same thing and its not working. STOP spending our money.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  104. Grace

    Earmarks, Pork...what is it really? There was a project I think mentioned by the McCain team and pundits about new equipment for the Chicago Planitarium – and it was considered a pork (earmark) that served no purpose....oh really. Chicago as other many major cities relies on its tourism and the Planitarium as with the other nearby museums bring in a great deal of revenue to the city. Earmark=new equipment=continued revenues of tourism. So what is so wrong with that if the city and its citizen's prosper. 410Billion is hardly stuffed with less than 2% of earmarks and if the 7.7 (line-by-line) is useful in generating continued or new revenue, then we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water...

    March 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  105. Deb, Pittsburgh PA

    Yes, he should veto it. Take the pork out, then sign it. Put the 7.7B and the other billions of pork in the previous bills toward something worthwhile like healthcare, education, infrastructure, social security, etc.

    Why can't they set proper priorities for our hard earned money? With so many things in financial trouble right now, it's long overdue to SPEND WISELY.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  106. Lee in TN

    I think we should work to eliminate "pork" in all bills, however this is people making a mountain out of a mole hill! The so called pork that has been talked about in this bill is less than 2% of the entire bill. For roughly 14 years under the republican control of Washington, almost every bill rammed through congress had less than 48 hours for review and contained staggering amounts of earmarks or "pork".
    As an additional note, the number of lobbyists in Washington pushing this pork, doubled in these 14 years and almost all of them republican oriented.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  107. marie banderas in texas

    there IS just as much so called pork in there BY the republicans as the democrats ! READ the stats ! and a lot of those actually DO provide jobs ! I think Pres Obama is doing just fine..we need to let him alone to continue his work..no matter what RUSH, or republicans say...let the repubs cut out ALL of thier pork add ins 1st ! then and only then will they have a true reason to whine !
    Marie..in Texas...

    March 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  108. Bruce in Colorado

    One word, Yes.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  109. Mary Johnson

    No President Obama doesn't need to veto every bill with "earmarks"
    Guess who made that a dirty word. Not the President. No. It was John McCain.
    John McCain gets reelected every 6 years because he finds other ways to benefit his state.
    Not all earmarks are bad. Just ask the Congress people. Its never MY earmarks that are bad. Just the other guy's . Seriously, some spending is necessary and not benefiting personal issues back home.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  110. Karen

    It doesn't matter what he does, it will be always be wrong according to someone, somewhere.

    This left-over budget from last year is being flung around for headline grabbing effects and artificially sensationalized for regurgitation during future elections. I don't think O'bama could tie his shoes without some Right Wing-nut and Left Wing-ding strategists debating even THAT in the' us against them' mentality that is has made a train wreck out of our Nation. Enough already!

    March 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  111. rpb Viburnum Mo

    One mans pork is another mans steaming pile of dung. Get people back to work weather it's cleaning up big piles of crap or making big pigs out of little pigs.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  112. Allen in Hartwell GA


    Assuming that the bill is in fact stuffed with pork that does nothing for the economy, if I was the president I’d make it plain to the House Democrat leaders that I would not accept any “congressional initiative process” that called for spending that was not needed. Then I’d veto the bill and send it back.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  113. lkr

    Pres. Obama will be dammed if he signs and dammed if he doesn't. This is one of those no win situations. He will have to make the final decision and we will go with it. Families have often been put in this same position. Whatever his decision, i think the American people will come out just fine.
    West Bend

    March 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  114. wisconsinprogressive

    I'm not sure what is meant by the characterization of this spending bill as "full of pork"? The earmarks are about 1-2% of the total expenditures!! If you get that number a bit higher, then we'd have cause for alarm; until then, let's stop giving those like Sen. McCain the bullhorn.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  115. Johncal

    Jack: Your question has a built in answer. It is time we stop using the term "pork " without at least defining what it is. Getting a hopspital built in a rural town by way of "earmarks" would constitute porK Getting programs for the district you represent is what a representative government is all about. Remember it is only pork when someone else gets it.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  116. perry jones

    yes if he were to veto this bill he would gain mor that he could losse form letting it pass with out any question

    perry jones

    March 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm |