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. HD 100% ETH

    If it is necessary, why not.

    November 15, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Can you say flip flop you hypocritical turd. You were for the, before you were against them. You need to staop playing politics and govern. You're done when 2012 rolls around scumbag. Out of your party, you were the only boat paddling against the tide.

    November 15, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Ferret out the B.S.

    What a hypocrite, if you think they do good why don't you stand up for your belief and what's good for your constituents. Your the one in the know, right? You guys sway with breeze.

    November 15, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. SJC2

    Does this mean that the people of Kentucky are more concerned with the national debt than bringing home the bacon?

    November 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Rikitix

    Now it's the Democrats' turn to say HELL NO!

    November 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. American

    These lying punk Republicans will say one thing and do another. I guarentee they will find some underhanded way of extracting financial benefit from the US treasury for their districts and when they do, they will be exposed.

    Why do you think someone like Linda McMahon would spend $50M of HER OWN MONEY to try to win a seat? ANSWER: She wanted to be in position to enrich herself and her friends. These other Republicans are no different.

    November 15, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    yeah, Tuckey-neck McConnel is at it again. blaming the democrats...while he is flip-flopping on the issue!

    ban earmarks...yeah, that's just $7billion drop in the bucket of spending cuts

    But why extend $700 billion tax cuts bailout to the rich?...why not let the GW Bush tax cuts expire for all Americans after 10yrs that resulted in a great recession and net outsourced jobs to China & India!

    Yes, you want spending more tax cuts FOR ALL AMERICANS!!!!

    get real AMERICA....put your money where your mouth more blustering, political posturing and grandstanding!!!!

    November 15, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Ted Lipniarski

    I guess I would Flip/Flop on earmarks after all these years of taking them. Reality is setting in with the same bunch that went along with the unfunded wars which he helped create the enormous deficits to date. How quickly and naive is the American public today to believe that a magic wand was going to be waved and all would be well. Mission Accomplished Morons!

    November 15, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. CBR

    Every politician asks for earmarks. Many good things have come from them but at this time with the economy the way it is. No senator or representative should be allowed to attach earmarks to bills. It is probably time that politicians found a new way to get money and/or programs for their states.

    The caucuses may need to review requests and ask that those that are necessary to stand on their own or be connected to bill which meshes with the bill. Money to study animals and their environments should be part of a bill covering wildlife.

    November 15, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Sniffit

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

    That should read "view it as a symbol of the wasted and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is guilty of." Be that as it may, the real cruz here is the use of the word SYMBOL. I know it's probably wasted breath, but don't be fooled. Banning earmarks wholesale will do extremely little to correct the budget deficits or national debt. Almost nothing. It's a convenient SYMBOLIC fight for the GOP to engage in because, well, it doesn't really do anything, so it's safe..despite being a fairly hollow gesture from any practical standpoint. Just watch...when it comes time to consider military cuts or fostering infrastructure projects, they'll be yammering about how they don't need to agree to any because they already banned earmarks or some such nonsense. Now, to be fair, I'm not saying something shouldn't be done about earmarks, but this is the wrong fight. RULES should be made to govern how they are proposed, when they are appropriate in the context of the particular bill at issue, how much can be requested, etc. etc. You can tell it's gamesmanship because the GOP is taking an absolutist position and the trade-off is that it is very likely to be a prohibition that hurts poor red states more, because those are the states receiving far more federal money than they contribute in the first place. Of course, the GOP can feel confident and safe knowing that their base consistently votes against its own interests anyway.

    November 15, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. NC

    Yep, just what Kentucky needs no federal money the same for SC. Earmarks are what keep some of the poverty stricken states from going under.. You will have to explain to your state why they can't get free turkeys at Thanksgiving and no free Ham for Christmas.

    November 15, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Liberal4Obama

    President Obama has been talking about ending earmarks for a long time he even mentioned it again in his speech this past Saturday, I'm glad to hear the GOP leadership finally has decided to give up their addiction to earmarks.

    November 15, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. mgc florida

    hey mitch! CHICKEN!

    November 15, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Loopman

    This old fool makes me laugh. He and his kind are just as greedy as the rest of the politicians in Washington when it comes to sticking their hands in the cookie jar. " 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," What a crock of bull pucky!! "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". The Who had it right all those years ago.

    November 15, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. diridi

    Ban earmarks...Ban Derivatives, Put Term-Limits on Congress and Senate....Stricter Immigration and Catch on who hire illegals, and non-citizens....Watch these India guys, who are hiring in Motels, Gas pumps, etc,., and go, and go for the good of the nation....

    November 15, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. needNewGov

    I love how he condemns the Democrats even after he had to be bullied by his party to do what is right. what an idiot. McConnell is one reason why nothing will get done these next two years. God, someone needs to beat this guy and his Bonehead friends in the next election.

    November 15, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. AZ DEM

    Hmm..its a start..what about the deficit commissions suggestions? You campaigned against Obama running up the deficit so come Janury I'm expecting to hear COUNTLESS proposals on how to cut the federal deficit

    November 15, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA


    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!

    November 15, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Horace

    Dayum!!! Ain't he ugly? He looks like a turtle! I bet he is as sneaky as a turtle too!

    November 15, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. PalmReader

    Looks as if Rand Paul has McConnell running scared. Whatever will Ky do without the millions of earmark dollars bobbin'-head-turtle won't be bringing home the pork anymore? Surely, banning earmarks isn't all you GOPers have to offer, is it? After all, 1% of the deficit doesn't really go very far when all is said and done. Thanks to GWB and his republican cohorts, we owe China more than ever an earmark could cost.

    November 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. LoL

    Like listening to an addict say that they've seen the light and won't have another drink ever again, but they are going to still go to the bar every night for the conversation.

    Can't belieev a word these guys say – if their lips are moving, they are lying.

    November 15, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Mike in Texas

    Earmarks are a scapegoat for bigger problems. They will get their "earmarks" from somewhere else. That is like saying, I am $50,000 in debt so I will give up my $1.00 soda combat it; however, I will still eat out every night, keep my IPhone, cable, including all the movie channels and my $600 a month gas guzzling SUV....oh and my daily Starbucks.

    I say to the Democrats, vote for it and then follow the trail of "pork" that will still go to Kentucky and South Carolina.

    November 15, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. mack Johnson

    The old demagogue, celebrated deceiver and non-truth teller is becoming afraid of the tea party crowd. He doesn't want to leave the "big government" that he rants and raves against but he must want to continue to collect the big government checks that he apparently has become accustomed. McConnell has no credibility.

    November 15, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Duck Fallas

    He refudiates earmarks.

    November 15, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. w l jones

    The whole country should demand these politician to eliminate all personal income tax. ..and rely only... only on sale tax thereby stop ours electic official from playing politic with our tax monies.

    November 15, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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