Democrats Rap Bush on Earmarks

House and Senate Democratic leaders came out guns blazing today when asked to review President Bush's State of the Union address, which included a vow to veto earmarks.

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House and Senate Democratic leaders came out guns blazing today when asked to review President Bush's State of the Union address, which included a vow to veto earmarks.

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin called Bush's speech "a lifeless recitation of the president's beliefs. It's his story and he's sticking to it." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the speech was "certainly not a visionary speech" and was a "reflection that his term is at an end."

At a newsmaker breakfast, the Democratic duo did give Bush credit for the pending stimulus package but then roughed him up for vowing to veto earmarks. Durbin was especially critical of Bush, claming that the former GOP-led Congress had twice the number of earmarks the Democrats have had. He also drew attention to his bid for greater earmark transparency, even bragging that he likes to issue press releases when he suggests one. Hoyer also defended earmarks, noting that it is up to Congress to appropriate money and that domestic spending is just as important as funding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

—Paul Bedard