11 GOP Senators Propose Earmark Moratorium

Eleven Republican Senators are joined together to propose an earmark moratorium for the next Congressional session, but not all Republicans are enthused about the idea.

Earmarks are those unpopular pet projects that members of Congress slip into a bill to bring a small chunk of cash home to their constituents.  Although unpopular at large, it’s politically beneficial when a Congressman can come home and say “I supported a bill that funded $1 million for …[a school, library, park, green job company, etc.]”

From the Washington Post:

Even as some in the liberal mainstream media appear determined to spark a civil war among Senate Republicans, 11 of them are planning to move next week that the entire caucus join the House GOP caucus in an earmark moratorium for the 112th Congress.

The group includes Jim DeMint, R-SC, Tom Coburn, R-OK, John Ensign, R-NV, Mike Enzi, R-WY, and John Cornyn, R-TX, along with 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.

“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. “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.”

You would think this proposal would be popular at least among all Republicans, but that is not the case.  Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is one of the more conservative Republican Senators, is promising a fierce fight against this proposal.  He cites that the proposal only concedes power to the President by tying Congress’s hand in regard to spending bills.  The Hill explains:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is vowing an all-out war within the Senate GOP conference next week to defeat an earmark moratorium that he says unconstitutionally cedes congressional spending power to President Obama.

Inhofe, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, wants to block a proposal by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) that would ban earmarks for the incoming 112th Congress. The vote would be by secret ballot, apply only to Senate Republicans and would not have the force of law…

In a phone interview with The Hill, Inhofe said that the Constitution specifically grants spending power to Congress, and that ceding earmark authority to the executive branch would effectively strip the Senate of its spending power.

“I know politically it’s the dumbest thing for me to say I’m for earmarks, but it would cede authority to President Obama,” Inhofe said. “But McCain and DeMint are not being honest about how they define them. I’ve been ranked as the most conservative member of the Senate, so this is coming from a conservative.

“I have quotes, and I’ll use them on the floor to make sure McCain and DeMint can’t wiggle out of how they define earmarks. This is an Obama-DeMint-McCain effort. … I’ll lose on this, but I want to be on the record.”

Inhofe admits that the proposal is likely to pass, but that it is the wrong course of action against earmarks.

What do you think?  Does this bill need to be supported by all Republicans?  Or does it limit Congressional power, thus increasing the Presidents power?