(CNN) - Mike Huckabee jumped into the battle over earmarks, hours after Mitt Romney, another possible 2012 GOP presidential contender, weighed in on the matter.
The former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate late Monday announced that he is launching an on-line petition that calls for the banning of earmarks.
"I agree that our country must take painful steps to rein in spending and reduce the deficit. I call on the lame duck session to show they are serious about stopping reckless spending and reducing the deficit by taking the step of permanently banning earmarks," says the petition, which Huckabee emailed to supporters through "Huck PAC," his political action committee.
Earlier Monday Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who also made a bid for the last Republican presidential nomination, launched an on-line petition supporting Sen. Jim DeMint's push to ban legislative earmarks. Romney, who along with Huckabee is considering a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, put up his petition through "Free and Strong America PAC," his political action committee.
DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina who was just overwhelmingly 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.
A rules change pitched by DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday afternoon 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."
Monday Obama applauded McConnell's change of position on earmarks, but his statement was criticized by Boehner, who questioned the president's sincerity on the issue.
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