Dems Shrug Off Obama's Call to Battle Earmarks

'Faceless bureaucrats' shouldn't guide funds: Reid
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 26, 2009 10:40 AM CST
President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Leading Democratic lawmakers didn't welcome President Obama’s call to jettison budget earmarks, suggesting that as elected officials, they should control where funds are headed, the Hill reports. “We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats,” Harry Reid said yesterday. Obama pointed to earmarks as a roadblock in fixing the deficit in his Tuesday speech, but the new budget contains thousands.

The president doesn't have a line-item veto, but "I can assure you he'd love to take that for a test drive," press secretary Robert Gibbs said. Obama “wants all the money to go to the agencies, and then the agencies earmark the funding,” said a Democratic senator, who noted Congress is shrinking earmark spending. “Every president prefers to have Congress eliminated from earmarks so that he can do it in their place,” said a Republican senator.