House Leaders Speak Out on Earmarks

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The Senate will vote this week on putting a one-year hold on pet projects known as "earmarks."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering the ban on home-district projects after pressure from Republicans, though the vote would down one of their top campaign issues.

"My patience is running out on earmarks, I'll tell you that," Pelosi said Thursday. "We will either have them, or we won't."

Earmarks are extremely popular with lawmakers because they cover back-home projects like highway development and housing construction.

But they have come under attack after claims that lawmakers are receiving campaign contributions from companies benefiting from earmarks.

Tuesday a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen gathered to rally for the one-year moratorium, saying earmarks waste some $365 billion a year and are opposed by 85 percent of the American people.

They also chided their fellow lawmakers for concentrating on pork rather than governing.

"Instead of paying attention to what they should be paying attention to-- what we are spending money on and whether those programs are working-- all they're doing is paying attention to (what) can... get them favor with their constituents and get them re-elected," said Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. is the only House Democrat to denounce the practice.  "Something needs to be done because these earmarks are completely out of control," he said. "There's a whole world of lobbyists that has grown up around earmarks. It's getting to be absurd."

Presidential candidates John Mccain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all support the one-year ban on earmarks, but it's opposed by both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate.

Sources: CBN News, Associated Press

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