Mr. Bush has often derided Congressional earmarks as “special interest items” that waste taxpayer money and undermine trust in government. Congress, he said, included more than 11,700 earmarks totaling almost $17 billion in spending bills for the current fiscal year.
But some of those earmarks were similar or identical to ones included in the 2009 budget that Mr. Bush sent Congress last week. For example, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip, obtained an earmark of $1.5 million last year to deal with the emerald ash borer, a beetle that attacks trees, lawns and crops. Mr. Bush now wants more money to fight that insect.