November 9th, 2010
07:27 PM ET
12 years ago

DeMint to force GOP vote on earmarks

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said Tuesday that he and several newly elected Tea Party-backed Republican senators will try to force GOP senators to give up earmarks altogether. The move is a direct challenge to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other senior GOP senators who support earmarking funds for home state projects.

A vote on the proposal is expected next Tuesday when the Senate Republican Conference meets in the Capitol to formally elect its leaders and adopt GOP rules for the upcoming session of Congress.

A DeMint aide predicted a victory, in part, because of the many new senators who fervently oppose earmarks. However, two GOP leadership aides said the outcome is still an open question, and that senators are actively discussing the proposal with each other.

"Americans want Congress to shut down the earmark favor factory, and next week I believe House and Senate Republicans will unite to stop pork barrel spending," DeMint said, referencing the earmark moratorium House Republicans have in place. "Instead of spending time chasing money for pet projects, lawmakers will be able to focus on balancing the budget, reforming the tax code and repealing the costly health care takeover."

DeMint said he has support for his proposal from Republican senators-elect Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Veteran Republican senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Ensign of Nevada, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas also support it, DeMint said.

It's notable that DeMint is highlighting Cornyn's support.

Cornyn headed the Senate Republican campaign effort, and many Republicans complained that DeMint's support of Tea Party candidates undermined Cornyn's efforts to win GOP control of the Senate.

In a press release, DeMint said he would support a separate GOP conference rule proposed by Cornyn that would make it the policy of Senate Republicans to support a balanced budget amendment.

McConnell said on Sunday that he would "be willing to consider" a full ban on earmarks during an interview on CBS "Face the Nation." But the Republican leader added, "this debate doesn't save any money, which is why it's, kind of exasperating to some of us who really want to cut spending and get the federal government's discretionary accounts under control."

Filed under: earmarks • GOP • Jim DeMint
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Clark Wilhelm Griswald

    Okay, not a Tea Party fan, but this is something both parties need to do. This type of financial responsibility is the only legitimate position the Tea Party has; the other stuff is just to weird.

    November 9, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Clwyd

    DeMint! If you can do that you deserve a medal. Repulsicans have always been the leaders for earmarks and to get them to stop would be something. However, earmarks account for less than 1% of the budget!

    November 9, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. ED FL

    DEmint is trying to look like he knows something about nothing. He is waiting for his new boy toy's in the new Senate to get to Washington so he can remind them how much money he came up with to get some new blood in the Senate.

    November 9, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Rand Paul is an idiot.

    November 9, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. thomas

    Republicans are conflicted over earmark ban ? LobbyNation Vs the Stooges !

    November 9, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. KM

    The Old Guard vs the New Guard Republicans, let's see who comes out on top. It looks like all the Democrats have to do is focus on the last group standing.

    November 9, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Av8tor

    I wish Senator DeMint success in his efforts. Everyone touts pork-barrel spending as a problem and should be curtailed. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is Congress. Be sure the vote is public and not a blind ballot as it has been reported on other news sources. The public deserves to know where each of you stand on the issue. After all, actions speak louder than words. End earmarks, discretionary spending, end the wars, and balance the budget. This is where the rubber meets the road. Time to put up or shut up! When will Congress get it?!

    November 9, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  8. Ron

    LOL! Now the idiots are going to fight each other! What else can they do now that they can no longer just sit back and say "no!"? LOL. Poetic justice....

    November 9, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |