President Obama agreed to sign an "imperfect" spending bill to keep the government running, but he called for a crackdown on lawmakers adding "earmarks"—or pet projects—to legislation.
Obama was speaking Wednesday about a $410 billion spending bill—passed by Congress earlier this week—which has been heavily criticized because of many earmarks.
He said not all earmarks are bad. But Obama also said that such special spending for projects in lawmakers' home districts will have to be justified in the future.
He said: "I also view this as a departure point for more far-reaching change."
White House officials in recent weeks have dismissed criticism of the earmarks in the bill, saying the legislation was a remnant of last year and that the president planned to turn his attention to future spending instead of looking backward.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama isn't the first president to sign legislation that he viewed as less than ideal.
Asked whether Obama had second thoughts about signing the bill, Gibbs' reply was curt: "No."