November 10, 2010

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: McConnell Fights GOP Earmark Ban.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is maneuvering behind the scenes to defeat a conservative plan aimed at restricting earmarks, setting up a high-stakes showdown that pits the GOP leader and his “Old Bull” allies against Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and a new breed of conservative senators.

In a series of one-on-one conversations with incoming and sitting senators, McConnell is encouraging his colleagues to keep an open mind and not to automatically side with DeMint, whose plan calls on Senate Republicans to unilaterally give up earmarks in the 112th Congress, according to several people familiar with the talks.

While McConnell is not demanding that rank-and-file Republican senators vote against the earmark ban, he’s laying out his concerns that eliminating earmarks would effectively cede Congress’ spending authority to the White House while not making a real dent in the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. And McConnell is signaling his concern about the awkward politics of the situation: even if the DeMint moratorium passes, Republican senators could push for earmarks, given that the plan is nonbinding and non-enforceable.

PorkBusters kind of morphed into the Tea Party movements, and now the Tea Party Patriots are asking the following:

Call these 7 GOP Senators now, tell them to VOTE TO BAN EARMARKS – Mitch McConnell (KY) (202) 224-2541, Jim Inhofe (OK) (202) 224-4721, Lindsey Graham (SC) (202) 224-5972, Lamar Alexander (TN) (202) 224-4944, Jon Kyl (AZ) (202) 224-4521, John Barrasso (WY) (202) 224-6441, John Thune (SD) (202) 224-2321.

Seems to be getting some traction already . . . .

UPDATE: Maybe this reminder, courtesy of the Asheville Tea Party, will focus their attention.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Inhofe gives his side.

MORE: Roll Call picks up the story. I noticed before that there was more media interest in PorkBusters back when it was criticizing Republicans. I’m glad for the attention, but . . . .

STILL MORE: Reader Bill McConnell writes: “Here’s my proposal. Decide how much you want to spend on earmarks and divide it by population to calculate how much each state gets. Then it goes into a stand alone bill which each congressman must either vote yea or nay on. I think in the current environment there would end up being NO earmarks.”