The Craptacular Capitulation of a Lame Duck
By Erick Posted in The White House — Comments (34) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The President has not issued his executive order on earmarks, and it appears he won't.
President Bush is unlikely to defy Congress on spending billions of dollars earmarked for pet projects, but he will probably insist that lawmakers provide more justification for such earmarks in the future, administration officials said Monday.
Fiscal conservatives in Congress and budget watchdogs have been urging Mr. Bush to issue an executive order instructing agencies to disregard the many earmarks listed just in committee reports, not in the text of legislation.
More than 90 percent of earmarks are specified that way, not actually included in the texts. White House officials say such earmarks are not legally binding on the president.
Congressional leaders of both parties, who are scheduled to meet on Tuesday with the president, said Mr. Bush would provoke a huge outcry on Capitol Hill if he ignored those earmarks.
Lawmakers, including the House Republican whip, Roy Blunt of Missouri, have cautioned the White House that a furor over earmarks could upend Mr. Bush’s hopes for cooperation with Congress on other issues, including efforts to revive the economy.
Moreover, Republicans shudder at the possibility that a Democratic president might reject all their earmarks.
It's sad that the President has shown a spine on all things Iraq, but has displayed the spine of a worm in domestic issues on matters of principles -- namely the principle of fiscal responsibility, which polls show the voters now believe the Republican lack.
At the same time, the House GOP shows no willingness to put Jeff Flake on the Appropriations Committee. These two combined show a House GOP that has not learned the lesson of 2006.
How much longer must we wander in the wilderness? At least as long as the President refuses to lead on these issues, it seems.