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McCain takes aim at spending

He says Congress' use of 'earmarks' is 'completely out of control.' He vows to 'fix the system.'

May 01, 2008|Josh Drobnyk | The Morning Call

ALLENTOWN, PA — . -- John McCain on Wednesday cast Pennsylvania as a key presidential swing state where he needs to reenergize a party disillusioned with out-of-control spending in Washington.

"I've got to campaign hard and come to places all over the state, and try to build our grass-roots organization and reenergize our party, which has been de-energized to a degree because of spending," he said at the end of a daylong visit to the Lehigh Valley for a fundraiser and a healthcare event at a hospital.

The presumptive GOP nominee is spending the week talking about healthcare across the country. He outlined a proposal Tuesday aimed at ending the tax exemption on employer-provided health insurance, instead giving a $2,500 tax credit to individuals to pay for coverage.

But after the hospital event, he returned to one of his campaign's signature issues: ending "earmarks," the special projects Congress doles out to communities nationwide.

"If we eliminate those that are unnecessary and unwanted and go through the proper process, we would not be on the spending spree we are on today," McCain said at a news conference. He said that plenty of discretionary money was available to fund projects that were worthwhile, but those should be chosen by agencies, not lawmakers.

Later, on his campaign bus, he returned to the issue.

"The process has gone completely out of control," he told a group of reporters. "And somehow to view this as the status quo the last 200 years flies in the face of history. So I am going to fix the system to take it back to where it was, where we were not spending nearly the money that we are spending today."

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