With GOP cooperation, Senate keeps earmarks

Let’s rack up a big win for bi-partisanship. The Senate has just voted to keep earmarks.
With eight Republicans voting to keep the procedure — which allows them to funnel money to favored projects outside the regular budget process — earmarks will stay in place. Banning earmarks has been among the rallying cries of tea partiers, who insist that ending the longtime practice is necessary to rein in government spending.
In fact, earmarks represent a tiny portion of federal spending. But, so far, the tea party activists haven’t been able to muster enough power to even rein in that small portion. They managed to browbeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and get him on their side. After initially resisting the ban on earmarks, McConnell — who showed great skill in bringing pork barrel projects home to Louisville — decided to get on board.
But eight Republicans did not. (Seven Democrats voted to ban earmarks.) From the NYT:

Under an agreement between the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, a two-thirds majority was required to advance the ban proposed by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma. Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Mark Udall of Colorado, both Democrats, were also strong supporters of the ban.

The vote was 39 in favor and 56 against.

House and Senate Republicans have already voted among themselves to ban earmarks in the next Congress. With Republicans set to control a majority in the House and more than enough Senate seats to successfully filibuster any bill, it is unclear that any legislation including earmarks will be able to get through Congress even without a full, formal ban.

Eight Republicans voted against the earmark ban: Bob Bennett of Utah; Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee; Susan Collins of Maine; James Inhofe of Oklahoma; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Richard C. Shelby of Alabama; and George V. Voinovich of Ohio.

Let’s hear it for cooperation across the aisle. (Ah, I’m being sarcastic.)

153 comments Add your comment

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

November 30th, 2010
11:32 am

This will just increase the victimology of the tea-baggers, who think their myriad of mental, emotional and financial problems are a direct result of the federal deficit.

Their paranoia, lack of intellectual curiousness, their substance abuse, their obesity, their poor education have nothing to do with it, in their minds.

Crenshaw8

November 30th, 2010
11:38 am

I’m not opposed to earmarks per se. They should stand alone and not be hidden within house bills.

“Earmarks, said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate assistant majority leader, allow him “to direct federal dollars into projects critically important to our state and its future.”

Of course he does. Illinois is on the verge of bankruptcy. When that day comes, let them fail. California too. The states can then come in and renegotiate SEIU contracts.

“On the Senate floor Tuesday, Durbin argued that reforms had made the process more transparent and less likely to be abused.”

BS!

“According to the non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense, House and Senate spending bills for FY 2011 contain more than 6,500 earmarks at a cost of $9 billion. Those numbers are not final, however, as an omnibus bill to fund the federal government for 2011 has yet to be passed.”

Chump change to some. Not the state in which I reside. Let the voters in earmarked states spend from their side of the bucket. My side has a hole in it.

granny godzilla

November 30th, 2010
11:42 am

Thank heavens Kyl got his 200 mil!

Paul

November 30th, 2010
11:44 am

Gotta give the Republicans in the Senate credit for trying. Unlike the past majority.

So much for all the froofrah over the apparent power of the TPers.

But I’ll still look to Republicans to at least propose ways to cut spending. So far, only Democrat out in front on this is Pres Obama.

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
11:47 am

Let’s make sure we as voters remember who voters for earmarks(R AND D) and they’ll pay for it in 2012.

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
11:49 am

who voted***

cgm

November 30th, 2010
11:50 am

The only reason Shelby gets re-elected each time, is because of the earmarks he secures for Alabama. If all these projects are worthy, let them go through the normal budgeting procedures. There is a strong link between earmarks and campaign contributions.

Good Grief

November 30th, 2010
11:55 am

I agree that earmarks shouldn’t be hidden inside other bills. The problem remains that no one seems serious about cutting spending. Whenever a conservative talks about spending cuts, it seems the only things they wish to cut are entitlement programs. Whenever liberals talk about cutting spending, they seem to target defense first. But more often than not, the talk is only about raising revenues, which means raising taxes.

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
11:59 am

“Whenever liberals talk about cutting spending, they seem to target defense first.”

Whenever liberals talk about cutting spending, they seem to want to raise taxes first. FYT.

Kamchak

November 30th, 2010
11:59 am

I think the solution is obvious—a tax cut.

Tax cuts can cure eczema, seborrhea, and even the heartbreak of psoriasis. It’s also good for warts, gout, irritable bowel syndrome, and in most cases, can raise the dead.

Good Grief

November 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

Wow, Kamchak, tax cuts really are a hot button issue for you, eh? No tax cuts for anyone. In fact, take more from the wage earners. Distribute that wealth.

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
12:14 pm

Kammy, you actually think raising taxes during bad economic times will ENCOURAGE people to spend money, hire, etc. etc.

Paddy O

November 30th, 2010
12:15 pm

Kamchak is a schmuck, so utilize that brand when judging the credibility of his statements. The overpaid Senators have an obligation to balance the budget. If they keep earmarks, get rid of some of the Navy & quite a few of our embassies around the world. As stated, freezing the pay of all fed employees who earn more than $75,000 for 5 years or until the budget is balanced (with 500 billion being used to reimburse the SS trust fund & pay down the debt), as part of that balance.

Kamchak

November 30th, 2010
12:15 pm

Wow, Kamchak, tax cuts really are a hot button issue for you, eh?

No.

Another episode of one-word answers to simple questions.

Paddy O

November 30th, 2010
12:16 pm

Our Navy has 11 carriers, the next largest number floated by another country is?

Kamchak

November 30th, 2010
12:17 pm

Kammy, you actually think raising taxes during bad economic times will ENCOURAGE people to spend money…

Please show me where I asserted exactly that.

Thanks in advance.

Good Grief

November 30th, 2010
12:18 pm

Kamchak – You really put me in my place on that one. Good answer.

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

Well, Kammy, from you sarcasm about tax cuts…I assumed you’re against them. So I asked a question, do you really think raising taxes in bad economic times will encourage people to spend money, hire, etc.

If I misinterpreted your sarcasm, let me know.

Tommy Maddox

November 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

Vote them out – unlike today when I only got to vote for 3 judges…

BeeJay

November 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

If your comment, Let’s hear it for cooperation across the aisles, is sarcasm, your attitude is worse than I thought.

Skip

November 30th, 2010
12:23 pm

Kamchak

November 30th, 2010
12:23 pm

So I asked a question, do you really think raising taxes in bad economic times will encourage people to spend money, hire, etc.

I didn’t post one word about raising taxes, sport.

I will not defend words that I didn’t use.

Jimmy62

November 30th, 2010
12:25 pm

And those GOP members will likely be voted out by the Tea Party when next they have to face election.

Kind of funny how Cynthia is suddenly complaining about the GOP not all voting the same, when she spent so much time over the past years bemoaning them all voting the same.

So which is it? Should the members of the GOP all vote the same, or should they have minds of their own?

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
12:26 pm

“I didn’t post one word about raising taxes, sport.”

So why the sarcasm about tax cuts? Do you want the Bush tax cuts extended or not?

Kamchak

November 30th, 2010
12:30 pm

So why the sarcasm about tax cuts?

Because you silly cons tout it as a panacea.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 30th, 2010
12:36 pm

The earmarks-backscratching battle is not over of course – the new Senate in January will consider the matter again of course. Perhaps their looming losses in 2012 will help persuade a few more democrats to join the more intelligent group.

Tom Middleton

November 30th, 2010
12:37 pm

Richard Shelby? You mean the Richard Shelby who’s one of my senators? Are you sure we’re talking about birther Shelby, you know, the guy who hates government involvement in our lives, especially the spending part, and will stop at nothing to prevent it? He voted against the earmark ban?

Well, us Alabamians may be going nowhere fast with the attitudes and beliefs of our very non-progressive representatives, but at least we now know we have a Richard Shelby Highway coming to get us there! LOL

Libertarian

November 30th, 2010
12:43 pm

A WIN for America! We can keep funding important things such as teach Africans how to wash their genitals! Hip Hip Hooray! (Ah, I’m being sarcastic.)

ctucker

November 30th, 2010
12:44 pm

Indeed, Tom Middleton@12:37, you and my mom have a highway to nowhere!

Peadawg

November 30th, 2010
12:46 pm

“So why the sarcasm about tax cuts?

Because you silly cons tout it as a panacea.”

Ya and the same thing goes for liberals and raising taxes.

Tom Middleton

November 30th, 2010
12:48 pm

Thanks, Cynthia. but at least we’ve got Auburn for something useful. WAAAAAR EAAAGLE!

Tall

November 30th, 2010
12:48 pm

This is a good reason NOT to extend tax cuts. The more money our elected officials have to waste, the more they will.

Shawny

November 30th, 2010
12:48 pm

Get rid of the 8 GOPers that voted against it (and any Dems too). To keep earmarks on the basis that it would not reduce the overall debt that much is stupid. It would be equivalent of you telling your kids to simply throw their pennies and nickels down the toilet because they don’t amount to much.

No, save them and eliminate wasteful spending, no matter the scale.
Earmark spending is wasteful.

Interesting note

November 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

Good Grief@11:55 am

I agree that earmarks shouldn’t be hidden inside other bills. The problem remains that no one seems serious about cutting spending. Whenever a conservative talks about spending cuts, it seems the only things they wish to cut are entitlement programs. Whenever liberals talk about cutting spending, they seem to target defense first. But more often than not, the talk is only about raising revenues, which means raising taxes.
————————

They also need to do away with voice votes. Let the voting public see how each and every one of the politicians votes on EVERY bill.
——————————————————-

Peadawg@12:14 pm

Kammy, you actually think raising taxes during bad economic times will ENCOURAGE people to spend money, hire, etc. etc.
——————————–

And we see how many Fulltime permanent jobs have been created in the last 10 years with the tax cuts.
Oh thats right millions were created under Bush Light (in China, India, etc.)

DWTOO

November 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

Although a small effort, it’s still a start. Face it folks we face some really hard choices here. Everyone wants something from the government – SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, Every other agency’s funding. Somewhere along the line the first four are going to take a hit and we’re going to have to raise taxes along with it. And so far no one’s stepped up to the plate with a practical solution except for the congressman from CO.

Everyone else is busy protecting their little niche and want to pass it on to the nest guy. And if Medicare is cut are we prepared to fund the health care of our parents/grandparents? Think private insurance will pick up the slack as cheaply? If we cut Medicaid are we prepared to have charities fund care for those left out? We already have the infant mortality rate of a third world country. With the best health care system in the land. Cut SS? The old people would vote you out of office. This isn’t going to come easy and so far no one this blog has come up with a solution that will do it.

Remember the old saying – Do tax you, don’t tax me – tax the guy behind the tree.

Good Grief

November 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

Interesting Note – I agree with you about knowing how congress is voting. Personally, I would love to see a public, up-or-down vote on any bill requiring the use of taxpayer money (covers pretty much all of them). I also think that if a Senator or Representative brings forth a bill that will spend x amount of dollars, they should have a plan for balancing the budget in accordance with money spent by their bill.

As for job creation, I can understand why some business owners are not hiring. They walk a fine line between paying salaries and having the revenue to make their business profitable. If they cannot afford to hire someone, then they won’t hire anyone. Simple as that. But I know quite a few small business owners (worked for two, go to church with three, and was one myself for a short time) and they all say the same thing. They are so uncertain about what the federal government is going to do concerning taxes on certain income brackets that they are holding off on hiring. Some of these guys are S-Corps, and they report an income of over $250,000 a year, but they believe that Obama plans to milk them for even more, even though most of that reported income is through their business. It is not a healthy work environment when business owners are afraid to expand their business for fear of the government.

Bubba Bob

November 30th, 2010
1:02 pm

Earmarks may not amount to much but it’s very symbolic. Just like Obama’s freeze on federal employee pay. Not a drop in the bucket really but it’s a place to start.

Earmarks, if allowed, should be standalone.

BlahBlahBlah

November 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

8 Republicans and 31 Democrats just made a big mistake. Many of them will pay for it in 2012.

Bob

November 30th, 2010
1:08 pm

Billions in the stimulus were earmarks, maybe that is why it failed.

Libby

November 30th, 2010
1:10 pm

Oh my yes – I’m just exhausted from browbeating Mitch McConnell – where in the world does she come up with this stuff?

Interesting note

November 30th, 2010
1:12 pm

Good Grief@1:01 pm

I am all for raising the limit up to $400,000 from $250,000 so as not to penalize the small businesses and 2 income upper middle class.

But the extremely wealthy crying that if the tax cuts aren’t extended we won’t create jobs p1ss me off. They are the ones shipping jobs and investing overseas and laughing all the way to the bank.

Interesting note

November 30th, 2010
1:16 pm

Good Grief@1:01 pm

Left out one thing. All votes (not just involving tax monies) need to be recorded. The H1B visa limits and extensions have been voice votes and no one wants to own up to the fact that they have helped keep many thousands of IT workers in the US unemployed

George W

November 30th, 2010
1:16 pm

Hey Cynthia you failed to mention how many democrats voted to keep them? Can you please provide that information!

Mike K.

November 30th, 2010
1:17 pm

So, eight Republicans voted for earmarks while six times as many Democrats voted for them as well. Those eight Republicans should be ashamed. This development makes me fear that the government won’t cut spending anytime soon, but it also tells me that, as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are even worse.

George W

November 30th, 2010
1:18 pm

Mike K……great point. I cant believe she didnt mention the number of white reps voted for earmarks. That would fit her character.

Good Grief

November 30th, 2010
1:19 pm

I see your point, Interesting Note, but I can also see the other side of this coin. Seems to me if you have one group who is already paying most of the bill, they would have a right to get a littel ticked off if people starting saying they weren’t paying enough. The top 50% of wage earners in this country already pay 97.3% of all federal income taxes. If you do the math, you’ll note that the bottom 50% (roughly 70 million people) pay a mere 2.7% of all federal income taxes. That was in 2008.

All I’m saying is I can see their point.

They both STINK

November 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

Out of the 31 who didn’t vote for earmarks, how many are playing politics?

I would say that some of the 31 earmark money for their states all the time. These Senators knew it would pass, so they get to pretend that they are against it. Tea Party will praise them as being for the people and they will still earmark funds. Democrats play the same games…….

drinking the koolaid...

November 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

Enter your comments here

PJ

November 30th, 2010
1:23 pm

Cynthia — What is your point here? This is a serious question because if the point is to a take a jab at the tea party, then you need to do a better job. Earmarks, while representing only a small portion of the federal budget, have always been the centerpiece of major congressional scandals (including those caught up with Abramoff). Wouldn’t you agree that curbing anything that promotes backscratching and political gamesmanship is a good thing?

George W

November 30th, 2010
1:23 pm

I have a question…..the bill to banish earmarks…..did it have any earmarks in it?