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Biden: Earmarks Won’t Result in Knee-Jerk Veto

President Barack Obama isn’t likely to veto a Congressional spending measure for including earmarks, Vice President Joseph Biden said Sunday.

While the Obama administration isn’t fond of earmarks, the president wouldn’t issue a veto if the larger purpose of a bill is more important, Biden said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“If the question is, in order to keep the patient alive, we have to use a medicine we don’t like, we have to do it,” he said.

He later added: “If we say we have to support a levee in Mississippi in order to make sure my kid who’s out in Iraq or Afghanistan gets what he needs, I’m going to say, ‘Yeah. I don’t want to do it, but I may have to do it.’ It depends on the proportions.”

But that doesn’t mean the administration won’t fight against earmarks, Biden clarified.

“Conversely, if there’s a bunch of earmarks in a bill that we think is funding for several agencies that we’re willing to fight over and can take a chance on losing on, yeah, we’ll veto,” he said.

Earmarks have been a hot topic as Republicans prepare to take over the majority in the House and more seats in the Senate in the 112th Congress. The House and Senate Republican conferences have separately adopted voluntary earmark bans for their members. However, eight GOP Senators broke ranks with their leadership last month to defeat a mandatory ban on earmarks for the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backed off an omnibus spending measure Thursday, in part because of Republican opposition to its earmarks.

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