ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: The House Appropriations Committee just posted its $410 billion 2009 Omnibus spending bill. It's a doozy. This is the bill that will fund the government's operations until the end of the fiscal year. It's larded with thousands (so many, I can't count them all yet) of earmarks and adds up an increase in overall discretionary spending of more than 8 percent, the biggest one year increase since 1978 (with the exception of the spending boost after the September 11 attacks).
And this is a bi-partisan feeding frenzy. Roughly 40 percent of the money for earmarks (i.e. pet projects inserted by individual lawmakers) have been inserted by Republicans.
The Democrats, back before 2006, blamed the GOP constantly for major increases in discretionary spending. Now it is their turn and it turns out they are worse. 60% of increases by them. Wow.
Tonight, Barack Obama will address the nation. His aides, setting the bar extraordinarily high, say the speech will be Reaganesque.
“The president believes very clearly that we have to be honest with the American people about where we are,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“He will,” Gibbs said, “tell the country that we’ve faced … greater challenges than the ones we face now, but we as Americans always meet those challenges. But in the Reaganesque words, there are always better days ahead.”
Will the President dare to take on the issue of discretionary spending? Will he dare to challenge the Democrats?
I suspect this is the perfect opportunity for him to do so. The Dems are giving him a huge gift, i. e. a massive pig with a target on its rib cage for Obama to blow up and take on the corrupting culture of Washington.
This should, in fact, be the bar tonight. If Obama is willing to take this on, we'll need to give him credit. If he does not, not only will he not have been "honest with the American people," but he will not really be setting us up to meet any challenges.