Tuesday

From Associated Press, March 3: Obama Retains Earmarks Despite Campaign Pledge and Dangerous Budget Deficit

If not now, when?

6:18 PM EST

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted overwhelmingly to preserve thousands of earmarks in a $410 billion spending bill on Tuesday, brushing aside Sen. John McCain's claim that President Barack Obama and Congress are merely conducting business as usual in a time of economic hardship.

McCain's attempt to strip out an estimated 8,500 earmarks failed on a vote of 63-32. The Arizona senator's proposal also would have cut roughly $32 billion from the measure and kept spending at last year's levels in several federal agencies.

Last year's Republican presidential candidate said both he and Obama pledged during the campaign to "stop business as usual in Washington," and he quoted the president as having said he would go line by line to make sure money was spent wisely.

The White House has said that Obama intends to sign the legislation, casting it as leftover business from 2008. Spokesman Robert Gibbs pledged on Monday the White House will issue new guidelines covering earmarks for future bills.

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