Commentary: Spending bills needs to be passed now

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

Get on with it. As much as we dislike earmarks, those special projects that members of Congress like to include in spending bills, Congress should approve the $410 billion, pork-laden appropriations bill for the current fiscal year and move on to more important business.

This was the bill that should have been approved before the current fiscal year began last October. It was not approved on time because President Bush threatened a veto, and so Congress kept stalling. They finally took it up just last month, and it passed the House by a vote of 245 to 178 – largely, but not completely, on a party-line vote. Now it has been halted in the Senate due to complaints that it includes too many of those earmarks.

We don't disagree with the critics on that point. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, says the bill has more than 8,500 earmarks, at a cost of $7.7 billion. Although that amounts to only about 3.4 percent of the total, it's still too much. But we have to agree with the White House that this is leftover business from a previous administration and must be disposed of quickly to move on to other, more critical issues.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.