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Monday, December 24, 2007

Ohio's Boehner Blames Democrats For Pork: Another Republican Sees Bush Inaction

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint released a Congressional Research Service legal memo that contends the White House can easily eliminate billions in pork barrel spending projects. The memo says the money was not appropriated correctly, and thus President Bush is under no obligation to spend a dime. In fact, the memo portrays the President as part of the problem.

Congress sent the White House a $500 billion plus spending bill last week. Ohio's John Boehner, R-8, the House Minority Leader, said the budget bill was "bloated" with wasteful projects. Boehner is pushing for earmark reforms that would expose pork barrel projects. On Dec. 21 he said:

"To shine the brightest spotlight on wasteful pork spending in Washington, I have introduced a petition in Congress to bring about transparency and accountability to the earmarking process by requiring every single earmark to be publicly disclosed and subject to challenge on the House floor. We need 218 signatures on the petition to force a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and to date, 197 lawmakers have signed. I hope that my colleagues who have not signed this petition will join us in the fight to clearly tell the American taxpayers how we're spending their money."

Boehner wants Congress, which is now controlled by Democrats, to change its wasteful ways. He says nothing about the White House. DeMint wants more action from Bush and makes it clear the President already "has the tools he needs to stop wasteful earmarks." The conservative South Carolina senator released a Dec. 18, 2007 CRS memorandum that contends many earmarks are not binding and can be ignored if Bush would issue an executive order. The CRS said:

"Based on our review of the relevant constitutional provision, statutes and applicable case law it appears that the President possesses the necessary legal and constitutional authority to issue such an executive order. That said, the issuance of an executive order appears to be a discretionary act whose issuance is solely vested with the President of the United States. With respect to your second question, it appears that because the language of committee reports [earmarks] do not meet the procedural requirements of Article I of the Constitution -- specifically, bicameralism and presentment -- they are not laws, therefore, and are not binding on executive agencies."

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