November 16th, 2010
02:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Earmarks: Dem. Senator pushes full Senate ban

(CNN)–On the same day Senate Republicans will vote whether to voluntarily give up earmarks in the next Congress, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she wants the full Senate to vote on a binding moratorium that would include Democrats too.

"The arguments against this, every single one of them, I just don't think pass the smell test," she said about senators who oppose a ban and want to retain the ability to direct spending to home state projects.

McCaskill's push puts pressure on Senate Democrats, many of whom don't want to give up earmarks, to get behind a ban which has taken on increased political significance in light of Tea Party gains in the last election.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who just Monday reversed his longstanding support for earmarks, told CNN he would vote for the measure.

McCaskill is working with Republican earmark opponent Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma on an amendment they might offer to a food safety bill that's expected to be on the floor later this week. She is working with Democratic leaders to schedule a vote.

The ban would come in the form of a change in Senate rules, an aide to Coburn explained. Senators would be allowed to raise points of order against bills with earmarks, which would be binding.

"If these things (earmarks) are so good, will someone tell me how they're decided," a spirited McCaskill asked reporters. "Little cards getting handed around in caucus. There is not an open process. Who decides who gets the most money and on what basis is that decided?"

Filed under: earmarks • Senate
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. BlackPanthers2020

    Until the senate and congress get real about cleaning up their own house , then and maybe only then will the people will take them seriously . There's a lot of waste in Washington and starts with senators and congressmen . Terms limits for all , all of them should serve no more than 4 years in Washington , thats a major problem and why things are so jacked up !

    November 16, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    I like how this fiscal responsibility thing is catching on in Washington. Voters do have influence.

    November 16, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    Finally a little bipartisanship! Yay!

    November 16, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. TJC

    Fantastic! A Dem lawmaker opposing the ethically-challenged practice of earmarks!

    November 16, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    END the earmarks just so people in this country would realize how much the government does for them!! When the earmarks go away, they would realize how much the government is NOT doing for them!! Then, the American people will realize that the EARMARKS are just a DROP in the bucket and the DEFICIT will remain the same – especially with the "add on" extension of TAX CUTS for the RICH!!!!

    I am sick of the Politicians always being in Campaign MODE instead of REALLY Moving America Forward with our Leader, President Obama!! The politicians are always trying to see who will be the FIRST to suggest something for 'kudos"!!

    November 16, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Mike W.

    Good!! If you want consideration for your project and think its a worthy cause, then it should stand on its own!! No more earmarks!

    November 16, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. mike for president

    absolutely we should ban earmarks. by the people and for the people means all the people, not just the people in your district. Stop the jockeying and fix the country. Otherwise, get out or get thrown out.

    November 16, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. D. Bunker

    This sounds like more cowardly politician butt-covering. We already have a means to bar earmarks: Dont vote for bills that have them!

    November 16, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Clwyd

    Yes, Let's see where each member stands. I bet the "repulsicans" will vote in greater numbers for earmarks. How else will they get re-elected after being bough this election?

    November 16, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You're on the right side of this issue Sen. McCaskill.

    November 16, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. lcasey

    McConnell, a member of the Appropriations Committee, is a longtime defender of earmarking. The Kentucky Republican has requested 158 solo earmarks amounting to a cost of $927,872,000 over the past two years.
    Talk about a flip flopping hypocrite! A bit like Ms. Palin and her bridge she wanted but didn't want..................

    November 16, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. obama victim

    mccaskill represents Mo...where Barry is very unpopular...and a new Repub senator was just elected by a huge margin....she is up next time and loooking to protect herself...if course it is self serving...but whatever, it is the right thing to do Tea Party 1 Dems 0

    November 16, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Chas in Iowa

    It's time to put earmarks to bed for good. To many times necessary legislation ends up with all sorts of garbage attached to get it through. And if legislators vote against the bills they get bashed for voting against the bills main subject matter and not that it carried to much baggage.
    Earmarks should be put through as written legislation just like any other bill and stand by its own merit.

    November 16, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. rdepontb

    In my 25 years of working for military labs, I became quite familiar with Congressional Earmarks. Some very high percentage, at least 95%, were totally legitimate, and helped moved forward specialized research efforts either conducted by and/or supporting a Representative's constituency.

    It was that other ~5% that was intolerable. It was to have the appearance of a research grant to some group or university, but the research objectives were so light, and, for example, the "required" facilities so expensive, that it was clearly to be used as self-aggrandizing-project funds. Within the research community, particularly where the need for defense and care of our troops was and is paramount, those "pet" projects meant to have someone's name attached to a facility were quickly sniffed out and snuffed out.

    It is a tragedy to lose a fast-trrack means of reaching key researchers and engineers for issuse like body-armor, hearing protection, and fire safety. Try as we might, there was usually some other agency willing to take a 10% "fee" for essentially passing the money through to outside groups who would ultimately be directed by the Representative pushing his or her earmark. A national shame, even at 5%.

    November 16, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |