Obama's Blank Check? GOP Discusses Earmarks

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Tea Party-backed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is leading a charge to ban earmarks, but other members of the Grand Old Party, including U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are not enthusiastic about the proposed ban.

Earmarks are provisions used by government officials to send money towards specific projects. They include road and bridge projects, grants to local police departments and community development projects, among others.

Sen. McConnell has argued that banning earmarks would be like giving President Barack Obama a "blank check."

"Every president, Republican or Democrat, would like to have a blank check from Congress to do whatever he chooses to do," McConnell said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation last week.

"You could eliminate every congressional earmark and you would save no money," he added. "It's really an argument about discretion."

The Obama administration would be able to determine exclusively where all tax payer dollars would go.

DeMint argues that earmarks are "a symbol of out-of-control deficit spending."

"Americans want Congress to shut down the earmark favor factory, and next week I believe House and Senate Republicans will unite to stop pork barrel spending," DeMint said.

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