On Earmarks, McCain Tilting at Windmills

Vetoing all earmarks would bring gridlock, congressmen say
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Sep 17, 2008 12:30 PM CDT
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks.    (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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(Newser) – Members of Congress warn that earmarks won’t go away just because John McCain thinks they’re wasteful, Politico reports. On the stump, the would-be president has been threatening to veto any spending bill containing earmarks; such a move would be "an executive branch power grab" that would bring government to a standstill, say members of his own party.

The Constitution is very specific and very clear about who appropriates money,” says Florida Rep. Bill Young. “Not all earmarks are pork-barrel spending.” Many allegedly wasteful items are actually popular and legitimate projects like veterans’ hospitals. “What a President McCain could do is make Congress pay closer attention to earmarks,” Young adds.