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They missed their chance

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Congress has once again passed up two opportunities to be prudent with taxpayers' funds, especially during this current recession. President Obama also skipped a chance to walk his campaign talk by not vetoing an earmark-filled $410-billion spending bill.

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Lawmakers Tuesday voted to deny themselves an automatically scheduled pay raise in January 2010, due to the pending 2010 election. The agreement holds the annual pay at $174,000 until 2011, when the automatic pay increase law returns from its one-year hiatus. Of course, Congress approved this action on a voice vote, so individual votes were not recorded.

Congress has already accepted an automatic wage increase this year, which started in January. They took this action in spite of the fact the economy has been in full recession for months and more than 12 million people are unemployed. How many Americans received an automatic pay raise this year?

The Senate Tuesday approved the $410 billion funding bill, which includes $5.5 billion in congressional earmarks. Obama signed the bill Wednesday, missing an opportunity to follow though on his campaign rhetoric opposing ear marks.

This overall spending bill was written by the Democratic majority with the support of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Republican number 3 leader Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized the spending bill due to the excessive ear marks, with the majority coming from former or current Republicans lawmakers.

The Obama administration maintains this spending bill is a leftover from the Bush administration.

That is a very feeble excuse!

This bill was passed and signed in March 2009, while the Obama administration was in office. That is a simple fact.

Obama should have vetoed this bill by sending it back to Congress for a do-over.

Congress and Obama both missed opportunities this week to be frugal in the worst economic year since the Depression. It is high time both Congress and the administration stop being hypocritical and be more frugal with American taxpayers' money.

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