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Sen. Tom Coburn on Obama’s Earmark Speech

The Oklahoma conservative and past co-sponsor, with former Sen. Barack Obama, of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, is not all sold on the president’s statement about earmarks.

I applaud President Obama for calling for additional earmark reform and I look forward to helping him succeed in changing the culture in Washington. However, actions speak louder than words. By its actions, this administration has given amnesty to pork-barrel politicians in both parties.

Contrary to the administration’s claims that the stimulus bill was earmark free, the bill did in fact contain earmarks that were inserted in the bill by congressional leaders. Moreover, Congress’ decision to gut my amendment requiring that grants be competitively bid, a principle President Obama again embraced today, will ensure that many more earmarks and wasteful projects will be funded through the stimulus bill.

“The veto pen is the only meaningful legislative tool available to the president,” concluded Coburn. “He should use it liberally.”

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