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(The Patriot Post) - As for obviously wasteful government spending, it looks as if President George W. Bush will pass up the opportunity to reject the large number of congressional earmarks that are not part of binding legislation by simply instructing executive agencies to spend the money differently, but he is expected to push for greater justification in the future for the earmarks that do exist in conference-committee reports. Congressional Republicans are reluctant to get behind the President in his effort to shut down “the congressional favor factory” because, like their colleagues across the aisle, they want to bring money home to their constituents. They also fear a political backlash in a future Democrat administration.
However, more than 20 House and Senate members have vowed not to seek new earmarks for their districts. House conservatives led by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) hope to force a conference vote for an earmark moratorium, but they need 50 GOP votes to do so. Even then, once the vote is forced, they need a majority of the 199 House Republicans to sign on, which is unlikely. These brave souls no longer want to be a part of the problem, but they may pay the price back home, where constituents are angered at losing money for projects they believe are worthwhile.
The White House Office of Management and Budget did suggest that the total number of earmarks has decreased since 2005, with spending reduced by $2.1 billion, or 11 percent.