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Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 11/30/2010

Senate rejects earmark moratorium

By Felicia Sonmez

The Senate on Tuesday rejected a plan that would impose a two-year moratorium on federal earmarking for lawmakers' pet projects, with a handful of Republicans joining with most Democrats to defeat the measure.

The proposal, which would have needed a two-thirds majority to pass, failed by a 39-to-56 margin.

Seven Democrats voted for the ban, including Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) (who were among the bill's co-sponsors), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), and Mark Warner (Va.). McCaskill and Nelson are both up for re-election in 2012 and are likely to face tough battles to hold onto their seats.

Eight Republicans voted against it: Sens. Bob Bennett (Utah), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), James Inhofe (Okla.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and George Voinovich (Ohio). Five senators did not vote.

Several of those who voted against the ban had previously stated their opposition to the proposal, even though Senate Republicans approved it by voice vote in a closed-door session earlier this month following Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's endorsement of the plan.

Udall, one of the proposal's co-sponsors, expressed disappointment with the vote and vowed to continue to fight earmarking.

"When it comes to budgeting, earmarks are a frustrating -- and ultimately dangerous -- example of the tail wagging the dog," he said in a statement. "Too many lawmakers are so focused on protecting their earmarks, they turn a blind eye to excessive spending bills. Holding government accountable and being good stewards of the public dollar become an afterthought."

Despite the failure of the ban, it's still possible that proponents of the moratorium in the House and Senate may attempt to block any legislation containing earmarks.

By Felicia Sonmez  | November 30, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

There is no law that says that a lawmaker MUST ask for, or accept, earmarks. It's like abortion: Don't like it? Fine, don't do it.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | November 30, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

How can you expect these same people to control the entire realm of government spending when they can't even vote to suspend their own pet projects for 2 years??? We need another election to get the rest of these people out of office.

Posted by: ren51 | November 30, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives should take heart-—the anti-earmark bill that was brought up this past March only had 29 senators voting for it. A loss is a loss, but a 10-vote gain in a lame duck session is nothing to sneeze at. And if DeMint and the new conservatives have anything to say about it, zero-based budgeting will soon be making its way into national debate.

Posted by: reaganslist | November 30, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Democrats tried to explain to Republican Voters that things like this (and more) is what's coming from the GOP because the GOP is not capable of telling the truth.

One minute the GOP is taking out ads and giving on-the-spot interviews to TV stations, the next minute the GOP has got its hands stuck WAY out try to grab as much as that "socialist" cash as they can get their hands on.


Posted by: lindalovejones | November 30, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

They still don't get it. That list will be taped on a lot a refridgerators in the country soon.

Posted by: Gooddogs | November 30, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Politicians never learn. They will get a refresher course in two years.

Posted by: tonyjm | November 30, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You eight Republicans who voted against banning earmarks did not listen. You will be faced with an opponent in the primary in your next campaign to keep your seat.

AND WE WILL SUPPORT YOUR OPPONENT. WE WILL ELECT POLITICIANS WHO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE, LIKE IN "WE THE PEOPLE."

REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED AGAINST BANNING EARMARKS -- ENJOY YOUR NEXT JOB.

Posted by: RonKH | November 30, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

And Pork still abides ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | November 30, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

And Pork still abides ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | November 30, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

And Pork still abides ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | November 30, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Will some news organization dig deeper! Programs like National History Day, Council for Economic Education, Center for Civic Education, Close-Up Foundation, and many other civics programs which are administered in every state and every district in the US have been designated earmarks. National History Day is pork? (See definitions of pork and earmarks) Well, ironically, I guess edifying the public to the experiences of democracy is pork. I thought the educated masses could control pork? Wrong. A handful of elitist Senators and Representatives have decided that democratic education would disrupt our check and balance system.

Posted by: ntmcdowell | November 30, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

You have to love this "behind closed doors" voting by the House and Senate GOP caucases. What actualy happens is a voting strategy to decide how each group will produce enough votes to either defeat or pass a bill depending on what McConnell and Boehner want.....such BS. Where are the Tea Party zealots?

Posted by: mikesba | November 30, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Most of them aren't in office yet.

Posted by: gfafblifr | November 30, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Trillions in debt and hundreds of billions over budget, yet we can't even manage to nibble around the edges, let alone enact meaningful reductions in spending.

At some point, China will stop lending, and that point is coming soon. Then we will be forced to either print more money (igniting rapid inflation), and/or raise taxes. Actual reductions in spending will take longer to accomplish.

All indications seem to show that this will be a particularly lame duck congress. I'm predicting failure to even extend the tax cuts, for anyone. Won't that be a hoot. Buy your pitch fork and torches now before supplies run out. ;)

Posted by: Whys | November 30, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Trillions in debt and hundreds of billions over budget, yet we can't even manage to nibble around the edges, let alone enact meaningful reductions in spending.

At some point, China will stop lending, and that point is coming soon. Then we will be forced to either print more money (igniting rapid inflation), and/or raise taxes. Actual reductions in spending will take longer to accomplish.

All indications seem to show that this will be a particularly lame duck congress. I'm predicting failure to even extend the tax cuts, for anyone. Won't that be a hoot. Buy your pitch fork and torches now before supplies run out. ;)

Posted by: Whys | November 30, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHA!

The Teabagger extremists get Punk'd by their own Republican heroes....again!

HAHAHA!

.

Posted by: DrainYou | November 30, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Why is it no surprise that the Senate rejected the moritorium on earmarks? The "kick the can down the road and the heck with the future" way of doing things is still alive and well now that the election is over. What gutless wonders we have supposedly doing the country's business. If they won't pass minor legislation like this to help stem the tide of deficit, how can we believe that they'll take the tougher steps such as ending corporate entitlements and subsidies? It sounds like business as usual with greed ruling all. What a shame.

Posted by: sober1 | November 30, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

If the House follows its earmark ban the Senate ban would be redundant anyway. The earmarks are not as important as the mentality that each lawmaker must "get something for his or her people".

Posted by: plysle | November 30, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Earmarks have been such a way of doing business for most the politicians for so many years, it would TAKE A VERY STRONG EFFORT to get rid of them. Our House and Senate aren't strong enough. But it sure sounds good when you're running for office or re-election!

Posted by: bwshook1 | November 30, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I take issue with those who say that a moratorium on earmarks has "negligible" effect on the deficit. Whenever you start talking about billions of dollars, that is real money. The same with the freeze on the pay of federal workers. Combine the two and you have even more significant amounts of money. And, however one may view the above two measures, either for good or for ill, they would be a start. We must do something to start deficit reduction. We must not stand idly by and continue to watch the decline of our proud and powerful nation. We could also contribute to deficit reduction by cutting off corporate welfare. We always hear griping about "entitlement" programs, but we seldom hear the same people who gripe about that gripe about "corporate entitlements"!

Posted by: omgamike | November 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

No surprises here. Senate still ruled by Democrat idiots and the Repubs that voted with them are the scum that only pretend to be conservative. Like another post here, not much savings, but might help with the underlying corruption of both the House and Senate. Lisa Murkowski is all scum and corruption, she lives and breathes earmarks.

Posted by: ReneesOpinion | November 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I take issue with those who say that a moratorium on earmarks has "negligible" effect on the deficit. Whenever you start talking about billions of dollars, that is real money. The same with the freeze on the pay of federal workers. Combine the two and you have even more significant amounts of money. And, however one may view the above two measures, either for good or for ill, they would be a start. We must do something to start deficit reduction. We must not stand idly by and continue to watch the decline of our proud and powerful nation. We could also contribute to deficit reduction by cutting off corporate welfare. We always hear griping about "entitlement" programs, but we seldom hear the same people who gripe about that gripe about "corporate entitlements"!

Posted by: omgamike | November 30, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

You have to love this "behind closed doors" voting by the House and Senate GOP caucases. What actualy happens is a voting strategy to decide how each group will produce enough votes to either defeat or pass a bill depending on what McConnell and Boehner want.....such BS. Where are the Tea Party zealots?

Posted by: mikesba | November 30, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Boehner will reject his health care benefits too, before he repeals Obama's health care...

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 30, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

alantich2000, we've had our pay frozen for 4 years now.

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 30, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The point on earmarks is though hardly a rounding error in the budget it is $5.00 per-capita of lower spending. It is a start.

Federal employees work for the people, us the taxpayers in other words. A pay freeze is nothing when compared to unemployment. Many of us have had our pay frozen more than 18 months ago.

Posted by: alantich2000 | November 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Common sense: 1
Teabaggers: 0

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 30, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Good. Like freezing federal salaries, this would do almost nothing to control debt. It's a sideshow. It's all about entitlements and taxes.

Posted by: Dadrick | November 30, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@SCVoter- you do know your skewed logic makes you look like a dumb***, right? Your analysis is similar to comparing apples to oranges, both might be fruits but they are diametrically different. WTF? In this instance you are comparing voting on leadership of a group to voting on a moratorium/rule. Exactly how are they the same? One is about choosing a mouthpiece; the other about personal gain. Your comments only show what a self-righteous idiot you are, and how is that any different from some of the republicans you are snarking about?

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | November 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

So Boehner was elected Speaker of the House by a similar voice vote and acclamation by Republicans behind closed doors.

I wonder if Boehner's unanimous election was as wrong as the so-called unanimous Senate Republicans' approval of banning earmarks by voice vote in a closed-door session earlier this month following Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's endorsement of the plan.

In other words, Representative Boehner's unanimous election as Speaker is suspect also. One cannot trust Republican unanimous elections behind closed doors.

Republicans do not take real votes like Democrats for Nancy Pelosi as they make everyone march in lock step as long as they can.

Posted by: SCVoter | November 30, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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