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Congress Struggles to Settle on Earmarks

Lawmakers are battling over funding projects called earmarks that have been attached to bills. The NewsHour reports on a proposed deal that may allow them to move past these debates.

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    This week, House Democrats brought out their own spending priorities for the first time in 12 years. House Republicans made sure Democrats also brought with them their pledge to make it a fair and transparent process.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: We will make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.


    Following the November elections, soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised full disclosure of all earmarks, special spending projects that lawmakers traditionally tucked into appropriations and other bills unnoticed. Abuse of that practice is what sent Randy "Duke" Cunningham to prison. The California congressman had inserted millions of dollars in military contracts in exchange for bribes.

    REP. DAVID OBEY (D), Chair, Committee on Appropriations: I should make clear what is happening here and what is not happening here.