WASHINGTON -- The White House on Sunday downplayed massive deficit spending and President Obama's pledge not to sign legislation laden with billions in earmarks amid Republican criticism that he was recanting on a key campaign promise.
The administration's top budget official, Peter Orszag, said Obama would sign the $410 billion spending bill despite a campaign pledge that he would reject tailored budget requests that let lawmakers send money to their home states. Orszag said Obama would move ahead and overlook the time-tested tradition that lets officials divert millions at a time to pet projects.
It was the Washington equivalent of officials pinching their nose and swallowing a bitter pill.
"This is last year's business," Orszag said, offering an acknowledgment that Obama would sign a bill that doesn't conform with his campaign vows. "We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward."