Top advisers for President Obama Sunday said he will sign an omnibus spending bill still percolating on Capitol Hill despite its inclusion of billions in earmarks.
White House Chief of Staff Emanuel and OMB Director Orszag appearing separately on Sunday morning shows said the FY09 omnibus spending bill is "last year's business," and that Obama will sign what is sent him. "We just want to move on," Orszag said on ABC's This Week. Republicans say the bill's 9,000 earmarks - worth $8 billion - run counter to Obama's campaign pledge to reduce pork. Emanuel stressed on CBS' Face the Nation that Obama has already helped push through stimulus and children health care legislation this year that were earmark-free and that Obama will not be as amenable if a high-level of earmarks are included in future spending bills.
Emanuel and Orszag also defended a $3.6 trillion budget blueprint Obama unveiled Thursday that Republicans argue would raise taxes on most Americans. Emanuel said 95 percent of Americans would receive a tax cut and that noone's taxes will go up until 2011. "This budget makes the vast majority of Americans better off," Orszag said.
Orszag stressed the need for pushing forward with health care reform this year and Obama is planning Monday morning to introduce Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his pick to head the Health and Human Services Department. Obama this week is hosting lawmakers and interest group representatives at a White House summit on health care reform.