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« P.M. Brown Addresses Congress | Blog Home Page | D.C. Voting Rights Bill Postponed »

White House Coy Despite Growing Calls For Omnibus Veto

As the White House continues to promote initiatives it says are cutting wasteful spending, questions are mounting about why President Obama will not take a stronger line on the omnibus spending bill in Congress, which has been derided as full of pork and irresponsible spending increases.

Today, Robert Gibbs invited to his press briefing Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Tom Vilsack, who outlined specific steps they've undertaken to find savings in the budgets of the Homeland Security and Agriculture Departments, respectively. This after Obama himself said he would save $40 billion by reforming the Pentagon procurement process.

But when he was asked again why they won't take a stronger line on the omnibus bill, Gibbs simply repeated what has become the company line.

"This is the culmination of the legislative business from the previous fiscal year from the previous Congress," he said, adding again that the president is "concerned" and that his record has shown his commitment to earmark reform. "The president believes that we can work with Congress to reduce wasteful spending in the future."

Pressed about the fact that the omnibus legislation is still pending and could be changed, Gibbs promised that Obama will soon "lay out some very clear objectives" about handling earmarks in the future.

A cynic might argue that allowing the omnibus bill to move forward is simply acquiescing to business as usual in Washington, a clear break with the president's rhetoric. Further questions were raised when Gibbs could not give a clear answer about whether Obama would support a new effort to have a line item veto.

"If they want to send it down, the president will use it," Gibbs eventually said when asked if Obama wants the power.