Angry McCain Slams Obama Over Earmarks

Old spending bill proves minefield for Democrats
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 7:18 AM CST
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Democrats were hoping they could sneak the $410 billion omnibus spending bill from last fall quietly through the Senate and onto the president’s desk, to make way for the 2010 budget. But John McCain is having none of it. “If it seems like I’m angry, it’s because I am,” McCain declared in an impassioned rant on the floor yesterday. Continuing his often hostile approach to Obama, he accused the president of ditching his campaign promise to “go line by line” eliminating earmarks.

The bill was negotiated with the GOP last fall, but after the stimulus bill, Republicans are in “sticker shock,” Politico explains. But the bill, or something like it, has to be approved by Friday, when the current spending measure for federal agencies expire. The earmarks McCain’s raging against represent just 2% of the bill, but they are embarrassing for Obama, especially since 16 of them—about $450 million worth—were written in by his chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel.