Taxpayers should welcome President Bush’s pledge in the State of the Union to veto spending bills that do not cut the number of earmarks in half. At the same time, Bush could have done so much more to address the surge in earmarks.
Last year’s State of the Union message included a similar pledge to halve the number of earmarks, yet the President declined to issue an Executive Order canceling the extraneous pork in the mammoth omnibus spending bill. That bold step would have sent a strong message to Congress and the American people that the days of pork-as-usual budgeting was over.
Given the fall campaign schedule, Bush may not even be in office when the spending bills pass Congress. Thus, it may be up to the next President to enforce the earmark pledge Bush made tonight.