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"Obama, who vowed to clamp down on earmarks during last year's presidential campaign, said that he backed the bill to keep the federal government operating. But he made it clear that he wants Congress to change its ways." Anyone who looked at his record would have known that this was pure posturing. He doesn't like conflict and he doesn't have the courage to stand up for anything unpopular. He didn't fight his own party in the Senate and he certainly won't fight them as President. I found it ridiculous that it was McCain that was seen as "more of the same".

-- holasrmateo

Obama signs spending bill; California scores big on pet projects

WASHINGTON - Ending another long battle over federal spending, President Barack Obama today signed a $410 billion appropriations bill that includes funding for more than 8,000 pet projects for members of Congress, including hundreds in California.

The bill includes at least $69 million for Sacramento, including money to target methamphetamine sales, raise Folsom Dam, repair erosion sites along the Sacramento River, widen levees, extend the city's light rail system, and pay for school programs aimed at reducing the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.

Obama, who vowed to clamp down on earmarks during last year's presidential campaign, said that he backed the bill to keep the federal government operating. But he made it clear that he wants Congress to change its ways.

"So let there be no doubt: This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand," Obama said.

California scored big with Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein advancing projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars, rejecting bipartisan criticism -- from Sens. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and John McCain of Arizona, among others -- that earmarks bloat the federal budget and should not be used by members of Congress.

"They support bureaucrats making all of these decisions," Boxer said. "But as elected officials, it is our job to know the priorities of our states. As long as we ensure that the process is transparent and there are no conflicts of interest, I think a small portion of our budget expenditures can be determined by members of Congress."

Boxer, who heads the Senate's environmental committee, got 115 California projects worth $178 million tucked into the bill.

With backing from both Boxer and Feinstein, the Senate approved the measure Tuesday night, sending it to Obama for his signature. It provides funding for nearly all government departments and agencies, which have had their funding frozen since October. As a result, none of them have been able to initiate new programs.

"This omnibus bill is long overdue," Feinstein said.

Local Democratic representatives said the spending bill will provide a much-needed boost to the economy.

Sacramento Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui said it would "lay the foundation for our prosperity for years to come" as she took credit for delivering the $69 million in federal money for the city.

"In the face of the current economic situation, it is vital that we continue to bring federal resources to Sacramento," she said.

And Napa Valley Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson touted his work in getting $3 million in levee improvements for West Sacramento, long recognized for its vulnerability to flooding.

"We need to rebuild our country and our economy, and investing in infrastructure projects that keep us safe from floods is one of the smartest investments that we can make," Thompson said. "The 44,000 residents of West Sacramento don't need to be told the importance of flood control projects. And building these levees will create many good-paying jobs in our community."

See a list of regional earmarks included in the spending bill

See a complete list of earmarks in the spending plan

Call Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy Washington Bureau, (202) 383-0009.

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Comments: 163     Showing:

  • pruden5956 wrote on 03/11/2009 10:44:48 PM:

    Roberts Family Development Center for programs to reduce the risk of chronic diseases -- $190,000...you CAN'T prevent chronic illness...wasted money. City of Citrus Heights, new ADA-compliant infrastructure -- $142,500...what is the infrastructure? A building? Don;t we have enough buildings already? Pointless... Since when does it cost $2 million to raise a dam? (Folsom Dam Raise -- $2 million)...too much money for something small (unless I am wrong; I don't think it would cost that much for cement and labor). What is this:Central Valley Project, American River Division, El Dorado Temperature Control Device -- $692,000...for what? The farmland temperature? MORE wasted money...there are some good ones, but those should have been financed by the State, rather than the Federal govt.

  • pruden5956 wrote on 03/11/2009 10:38:18 PM:

    that's a $178 million to keep our government afloat...isn't those earmarks the responsibility of the State of California to fix? What is the legislature doing with the budget money? Doesn't make sense...the whole stimulus bill doesn't make sense either...

  • sacbee2209 wrote on 03/11/2009 10:00:41 PM:

    Question: How can you tell if a politician is not telling the truth?

    Answer: See if their lips move.

    I will cut the defecit and 95% of the people will not see their taxes go up. Yah Right...

  • imaami wrote on 03/11/2009 09:49:26 PM:

    A spending we will go, A spending we will go.. Obama and the Democrats, A spending we will go!!!!

    Oh and don't forget to tax the working people to support the welfare programs for the poor and lazy..

  • Torpedoman wrote on 03/11/2009 09:33:56 PM:

    I'm shocked. Who would have thunk it? As general Secretary of the new Americam Politburo, how dare we question his wisdom and motives. He is obviously infallible and awe inspiring. Otherwise, why would a majority of the intellectual elite as well as citizens vote for him? He spelled out his intentions clearly for two years before the election. Guess the leftist commies got what they wanted without a shot being fired.

  • ajetboatman wrote on 03/11/2009 08:43:46 PM:

    Just wait until you start seeing your new tax bills.

  • Dayna wrote on 03/11/2009 08:36:33 PM:

    The author states California "scored big". In fact the average spending in this bill per capita for earmarks is 22.39, while California only received 15.47 per capita. Yes California did receive the most money in earmarks in total, but the author should remember that California pays 12% of ALL of the Federal taxes collected in the U.S. And in fact we only get about 79 cents back for every dollar in taxes that we pay to the U.S. treasury. So I would not consider that "scoring big". It is interesting that North Dakota, which has the an unemployment rate less than 3%, one of the lowest in the U.S., received 172.55 per capita. Which comes first, the earmarks or the jobs? California could use it's fair share of the pork right about now.

    For a breakdown go to www.taxpayer.net which is Taxpayers for Common Sense.

  • holasrmateo wrote on 03/11/2009 08:21:13 PM:

    abusymom; it is that sort of mentality that fosters partisan politics. Obama didn't campaign as a liberal, he campaigned as a moderate, despite nothing supporting that stance. And even if he was sincere it won't matter because people like you are destroying this nation. Urging that vengeance be taken. That Republicans should be punished for their crimes instead of moving forward. You people are so delirious you don't even see that Obama isn't going to end Iraq; not any differently than Bush. On economics he promised nothing different than McCain; but only McCain was being asked. And now Obama is trembling behind a Congress he doesn't control as they rack up unnecessary debt for my generation. Seriously you must be an idiot to believe that he is a leader with integrity. You voted for a Kennedy because of Johnson and you'll soon find out he's really Nixon.

  • buggsy2 wrote on 03/11/2009 08:16:07 PM:

    I don't get it:

    $410 Billion total, what is CA's total share of that??

    "Boxer...got 115 California projects worth $178 million..."
    "The bill includes at least $69 million for Sacramento..."

    Is the $69M part of the $178M??

    The projects mentioned don't sound like "pork" to me...but I'm betting there's pork in there. When and where is all this going to be posted? That's what I'm looking for and Obama is promising. Put it on the WWW and let us all take a look. Then we can email our Reps and Senators.

    As usual, another adventure in journalism that doesn't explain things well.

  • hurst1st wrote on 03/11/2009 08:13:02 PM:

    The Senate just passed the Durbin Amendment – the “Durbin Censorship Doctrine”

    Go hear and sign a petition "Durbin Censorship Doctrine" poses a much greater danger to our free speech rights because it expands the FCC censorship threat in ways we never before imagined!


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