Obama on Earmarks: ‘We Can’t Afford Bridges to Nowhere’ (Video)
November 13, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—President Obama devoted this week’s address to earmark reform and opening up trade markets for American made goods to create jobs here at home. After wrapping up an economic trip to Asia, Obama returned to Washington with a determination to get America back to making things again. Obama says, “The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.”
Obama realizes the way forward to create American jobs is to be able to compete in global trade markets.
“The economic battle for these markets is fierce, and we’re up against strong competitors. But as I’ve said many times, America doesn’t play for second place. The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.”
Along with a return to manufacturing comes economic growth, which would act as the engine to drive job creation.
“Opening new markets will not only help America’s businesses create new jobs for American workers. It will also help us reduce our deficits – because the single greatest tool for getting our fiscal house in order is robust economic growth.”
And we can’t maintain a 21st century economy without modern infrastructure. Unfortunately, as our demand for update infrastructure grows, many Republican governors are only thinking in the immediate short term, by killing high-speed rail projects in their states, because of the price tag.
“That kind of growth will require ensuring that our students are getting the best education possible; that we’re on the cutting edge of research and development; and that we’re rebuilding our roads and railways, runways and ports – so our infrastructure is up to the challenges of the 21st century.”
Regarding the deficit and earmark reform, Obama says we can no longer afford wasteful earmarks “…inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review.”
“I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called earmarks. These are items inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review.”
“Now, some of these earmarks support worthy projects in our local communities. But many others do not. We can’t afford Bridges to Nowhere like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska. Earmarks like these represent a relatively small part of overall federal spending. But when it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact.”
The President has also updated the website earmarks.gov, which lists all of last year’s earmarks scooped up by individual lawmakers.
“As President, time and again, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks. We’ve reduced the cost of earmarks by over $3 billion. And we’ve put in place higher standards of transparency by putting as much information as possible on earmarks.gov. In fact, this week, we updated the site with more information about where last year’s earmarks were actually spent, and made it easier to look up Members of Congress and the earmarks they fought for.”
Obama calls upon both Democrats and Republicans to support his plan to eliminate wasteful earmarks.
“Today, we have a chance to go further. We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust. We have a chance to advance the interests not of Republicans or Democrats, but of the American people; to put our country on the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility that will lead to a brighter economic future for all. And that’s a future I hope we can reach across party lines to build together.”
The subject of earmarks has dominated the infighting between old guard Republicans, such as Sen. James Inhofe (OK), who has been pleading to keep the present earmark institution in place, versus tea party leaders, such as Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) who is pushing for an earmark ban.
Photo Source: White House Flickr