November 15th, 2010
03:21 PM ET
12 years ago

In turnaround, McConnell backs ban on earmarks

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the chief, old-bull defenders of earmarks, bowed to growing pressure from the public and his fellow GOP senators, and announced Monday he would support a ban on earmarks by Republican lawmakers in the new Congress.

"I have come down to this spot and said the Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people," McConnell said in a surprise announcement on the Senate floor. "When it comes to earmarks, I won't be guilty of the same thing."

Senate Republicans will meet privately Tuesday to vote on a non-binding moratorium on earmarks–a move championed by South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint who is a favorite of the debt-conscious Tea Party.

House Republicans already have a ban in place and are expected to carry it over to the new Congress.

For years, McConnell and other senior members have defended their right to direct spending decisions and not leave all those choices to faceless bureaucrats in Washington.

In a powerfully delivered speech, the normally placid Kentuckian acknowledged his personal conflict over the issue.

"Make no mistake, I know the good that has some from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don't apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused

Americans to view it as a symbol of the wasted and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight," he said.

Filed under: earmarks • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. julia hisey

    For once Mitch McConnell is right–earmarks should be banned. However, the way he sounds off about President Obama
    puts him in the anti-American category just like Rush Limbaugh. They both need closed zippers on their mouths!

    November 15, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    WOW, Dutch is going to blow a gasket since the Repubs crushed his beloved entitlement party!!! His rants make my day... Keep them up Dutch!!!! Repubs will take the senate in 2012 with ease considering the amount of Dems up for re-election versus Repubs... As far as Mc Connell is concerned, glad to hear about his change of heart. McConnell works for the voters that elected him and we are tired of earmarks and the rest of the wasteful spending in Washington!! Clean it up now!!!

    November 15, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. GOP Taliban Victim

    Get real GOP. What is the point of even having LOCAL representation if all they are there for is to be puritan ideologues. Earmarks are just the scapegoat for the real problem – sell-outs that cater to the Big $ special interest groups and their army of lobbyists. Enough of the games GOP. What a bunch of hypocritical clowns.

    November 15, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Sen Mc Connell- hypocrit! Most of the earmarks added to bills in the past 4 years have been form Republicans- not the Democrats. It is ALWAYS the Republicans reason for not voting on bills.
    It's time ot look in a mirror to answer how you live with yourself Senator!

    November 15, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Balmorhea

    Smart decision but he should not have had to deliberate that long about something so clear. Its symbolic but every step counts and this is important. We are listening – proceed.

    November 15, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA
    GOP Tea Party $700 BILLION TAX CUTs BAILOUT To The RICH. I'm with you on the GWB tax cuts. If they're serious about cutting the deficit, let the tax cuts expire for EVERYONE!!! Stop BS'ing and govern!
    Hey Dutch!! 1. Where was that anger over the last 2 years? 2. I kinda, sorta agree with you about McConnell and earmarks! It does appear he is pulling a John Kerry here!

    I keep hearing folks like you say, the tax cuts have to be paid for! That would ONLY be true if the money has ALREADY BEEN SPENT before it was even collected! Stop BSing and govern indeed! Since the Dems are still in charge, I imagine you are addressing this to them, right?

    November 15, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Dick

    The only reason he " changed" his mind on earmarks is because they are making the ban non-binding. Do you really think Old Turtle-face is going to give up his earmarks? If the Republicans were serious about banning earmarks, they would make it a binding ban. Something smells fishy in the Swamp.

    November 15, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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