President Obama signs $410B appropriations into law
President Barack Obama signed the $410 billion Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act into law on Wednesday despite calling it "imperfect" because it contains billions of dollars of earmarks.

Obama called for more public disclosure of earmarks and said earmarks directed to for-profit companies should be subject to competitive bidding. He also said his administration reserves the right to reject any earmarks.

House Democrats adopted rules that follow Obama's guidelines but their counterparts in the Senate appeared less receptive. "The problem is not earmarks, the problem is secrecy which led to abuses in the past," said Sen Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to news reports.

Republicans also said Obama's words carried little weight since he signed the appropriations measure. "Absent a genuine veto threat, he's just spittin' in the wind," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), The Washington Post reported.

Get the Story:
Obama Signs Spending Bill, Vowing to Battle Earmarks (The Washington Post 3/12)
Obama Signs Spending Bill but Criticizes Earmarks (The New York Times 3/12)
Obama Says He Can Ignore Some Parts of Spending Bill (The New York Times 3/12)

White House Documents:
Remarks by the President On Earmark Reform | President Obama declares turning point on earmark reform | STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act:
H.R.1105 | Text and Explanatory Statement | More Details

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