WASHINGTON — The White House is pressing for passage of a $1.27 trillion year-end spending bill despite the inclusion of thousands of congressional pet projects that President Barack Obama had vowed to oppose.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that Obama would prefer a bill without earmarks. But he said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had told Obama that the legislation is necessary because it contains key financing for national security — including $158 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gates said he didn't like the earmarks either — particularly a new fighter jet engine that the Pentagon says it doesn't need. But Gates said that the alternative — keeping funding at current levels — is worse.
The massive bill covers federal spending until Sept. 30, 2011.
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