November 15th, 2010
01:27 PM ET
4 years ago

FIRST ON CNN: Romney to support earmark ban

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's jumping into the battle over earmarks.

The former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Monday announced that he's launching an on-line petition supporting Sen. Jim DeMint's push to ban legislative earmarks. Romney, who is considering a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is launching the petition through "Free and Strong America PAC," his political action committee.

"Senator DeMint is courageously standing on conviction with his much-needed proposal to ban earmarks, which will curb wasteful spending and restore accountability to the way Congress spends taxpayer dollars," says Romney, in an email to supporters. "We all need to recognize that Washington can't responsibly begin to address out-of-control debt and deficits until the practice of cramming earmarks into spending bills is stopped. While earmarks are not the only cause of our budget problems, they have come to symbolize what's wrong with Washington."

DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina who was just overwhelming re-elected to a second term, is leading an effort by conservative Republicans in the chamber to ban earmarks, which are a legislative provision that allows lawmakers to direct approved funds to specific projects.

DeMint became very influential in the GOP primaries earlier this year by backing conservative Tea Party backed Senate candidates, often at odds with the Senate Republican leadership.

A rules change pitched by DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday by the Republican Senate Conference. The non-binding rules change calls on all GOP Senators to unilaterally ban earmarks for the next two years. The ban would not affect Democratic senators to add spending measures to future bills. DeMint's move had been opposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as other Senate Republicans, but McConnell changed his position Monday potentially indicating a sea-change on the topic.

Friday House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, who will become House speaker come January, and Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, announced that they will hold a GOP conference vote to ban earmarks, one of the proposals outlined in their "Pledge with America" released earlier this year.

The push to ban earmarks may have some support from President Barack Obama. In his Saturday internet and radio address, the president said "I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who've recently said that in these challenging days, we can't afford what are called earmarks."

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint • Mitt Romney
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Jump on the bandwagon Mitt. I need to research to see what was your position on earmarks when you ran for POTUS last time. I'm seeing a trend with you Mitt. You're a flip-flopper. You are against "Obamacare" when it's pretty identical to what you passed in Massachusetts. You won't make it out of New Hampshire.

    November 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Voice of Reason

    Finally some common sense from the right that isnt tainted by 'folksy' pandering nonsense. The biggest problem in politics today is the $$MONEY$$MONEY$$MONEY$$. Banning earmarks makes it less likely that our congresspeople are voting for their financial interests, and more likely that they are voting for what is best for the country.

    THe health care bill was watered down and bloated because of all the money and partisian bickering. The GOP is railing against the Dems because of 'porkulus' (although they are every bit as much at fault for it) – and the bickering and arguing continues. This is the solution: Get the money OUT of politics, and everything else becomes easy.

    November 15, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Poser

    This is nothing more than political grandstanding. Earmarks represent far less than 1% of the budget. The only reason politicians talk about this at all is because it's an easy 'talking point'. It is a non issue. The so called leaders in Washington need to address the big ticket items (military spending, social security, medicare/medicaide, interest on the debt) which are 80% of the federal dollars being spent. We can literally cut everything else in the federal budget to zero and not even come close to a balanced budget unless we address the big ticket items. I believe it's going to take a combination of cuts and increased taxes but both of those are unpopular. I guess if we all pray hard enough, the money will just fall from the sky.

    November 15, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Jack

    When the GOP starts cutting earmarks I hope they look to their home states and cut as ruthlessly as they plan on doing for states that are democratically controlled. I doubt, when push ccmes to shove, they want to eliminate that bill to improve roads in their state, or that bill to build that health clinic, or that bill to aid farmers or local industry. Let's see what they do. "As they say: My necessary project is your earmark.

    November 15, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Whatever

    Hey Mitt that's nice you don't want earmarks but funny you are starting a "petition" from your PAC site – give a donation first and then sign the petittion?? Something does not sound right about that sitaution!!! How's the healthcare in MA going?? I think that will be your one thorn. You will/do look HYPOCRITICAL going after the current healthcare bill when it MIRRORED your own that you put in place in MA!!!! Oh my goodness...

    November 15, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If McCain had picked Romney, he could have won and if Republicans can accept Romney is Mormon, they can win, but they won't.

    November 15, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    "Senator DeMint is courageously standing on conviction with his much-needed proposal to ban earmarks..." STATES ROMNEY!!

    This FIGHT means NOTHING!! This fight has been stated and pushed after EVERY election!!!! In my opinion, NO ONE is against this!!! Therefore, an ON-LINE Petition is NOT NEEDED!!!!

    I love the way the RepubliCAN'Ts are JUMPING on things and trying to convince us that they are TRULY on the BALL!!!! Whoopee for the Candidates who are already in Campaign MODE for 2012 – I'm NOT so this is NO NEWS to me!!!

    T'sah is N2 Moving America Forward with our Leader – President Barack Obama!!!

    November 15, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Ben in Texas

    Romney, being an ex-governor, has never had anything to do with earmarks. He's jumping on this bandwagon to look presidential and right-wing. Even more so, he wants to deflect attention from the damage that will ensue if the mini-Bush welfare-for-the-rich tax cuts are extended. Earmarks, as loathsome as they are, cannot hold a candle to the destruction that will be caused by extending the bloody give away to those obscene porkers, rich people.

    November 15, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Kyle

    It's interesting that it takes a bunch of Republicans to start action to help the President keep one of his campaign promises. I wish Obama had done more on this issue rather than simply accepting that he can't pass anything without earmarks. Remember that pork-filled bill in the first couple months in his presidency that he signed? Now, nobody seems to be talking about his broken promise.

    November 15, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. carlos

    he should keep his nose off whatever Congress will vote on.........we do not need his stupid input, flip flopper

    November 15, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. ex-sarge

    The Mittster is against the earmarks, until the wind changes and he will be for them again. why is this man getting media time?

    November 15, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Limbaugh is a liberal

    'Yes, after I am done being the liberal republican governor of Massachusettes, mandating health insurance in my state, and spending billions of federal tax dollars on pork projects here I will leave the state behind, pretend I have been a conservative all along, and vocally criticize others for policies I myself have championed before...'
    Your record will come back biting you in 2012 Mitt! You can't run from it!

    November 15, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. DJ in TX

    President Obama actually stopped taking earmarks in the Senate. Not initially though, he had quite a bit during his 1st year. This will be something different for the GOP this time. The last time they had control, they voted down the ban on earmarks. I'd like to see Cantor's Boehner's, and McConnels vote the last time this issue came up. I'm pretty sure they all voted no to the ban the last time.

    November 15, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |