Graham defends earmarks in bill he wants vetoed
Sen. Lindsey Graham wants President Obama to veto the current spending bill because he thinks there are too many earmarks. NBC’s David Gregory confronted Graham with the fact that he had 37 earmarks in the bill.
GREGORY: Now, Senator McCain pointed out this is a bipartisan disease, 40% of the earmarks are from Republicans. At $7 billion. should the president veto this bill?
GRAHAM: I’ll leave that up to the president. We do need earmark reform. I wish he would veto the bill, get back together and come up with the reform process. Senator McCain does not object to members of Congress designating money to be spent in their state as long as it has a federal purpose, is transparent and equal to understand what the money is going to be spent for. We’ll have a say about whether or not it’s a good idea. That system doesn’t exist. I think it would be good for the country if the president and Senator McCain could meet soon — sooner rather than later, to come up with a package.
GREGORY: And yet Senator McCain has given you a hard time. He’s on twitter. Number six on his list of pork barrel spending $950,000 for a convention center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You want the president to veto the spending bill?
GRAHAM: I voted to take all earmarks out but I will come back in the new process and put that back in. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, we’re trying to build an international airport, an international convention center, and open up a new interstate highway to diversify Myrtle Beach’s economy. This came through the Small Business Administration.
GREGORY: You have 37 earmarks. Do you think they’re more important than other people’s projects?
GRAHAM: I think I should have the ability as a United States Senator to direct money back to my state as long as it’s transparent and makes sense, yes.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Mar. 8, 2009.