U.S. President Barack Obama says he is signing an
"imperfect" spending bill to keep the government running through September
The $410 billion spending bill contains funding for some 8,000
projects inserted by lawmakers for their home districts or states, a process
known as earmarking. The cost of those projects totals more than $7
At the White House complex Wednesday, Mr. Obama said earmarks
can be used to direct federal money to worthy projects. But he said said that on
occasion, earmarks have been used as a vehicle for "waste, fraud, and abuse,"
with projects inserted at the last minute without review and sometimes without
He called for earmarks to be open to review and public scrutiny,
and said spending for projects must never be traded for political favors. He
said if administration officials determine an earmark has no legitimate purpose,
then his government will seek to eliminate it and will work with Congress to do
The president, who is expected to sign the bill Wednesday, called on
Congress to enact reform of earmark spending, saying that he and the American
people will not accept anything less.
A majority of Senate Republicans
criticized the bill as being too costly. Fiscal conservatives in both parties
objected to the large number of earmarks.
Senate on Tuesday approved what is called the "omnibus" spending bill by a vote
of 62 to 35. The House of Representatives had already approved the
Mr. Obama said the bill is the final part of last year's budget,
and that it must mark an end to the "old ways" of doing business and the
beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability.