Senate GOP Caucus Caving On Earmarks?

The British newspaper The Guardian reports that the watered-down version of ethics reform will apparently get Republican backing after all in the Senate. Despite removing requirements for certification by chamber parliamentarians for earmark compliance, the elimination of searchability, and the restriction of the definition of personal benefit to an impossibility for enforcement, the Minority Leader and the Republican Whip both indicated that they would press the caucus to pass the bill:

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said he will fight the bill because it “guts key earmark reforms.” He noted that, unlike a previously adopted version, it would allow the majority party’s leaders – not the Senate parliamentarian- to rule on whether earmark disclosure requirements have been met in bills reaching the Senate floor.
Dissident senators would not be able to challenge the ruling, but they could try to strike an unreported earmark by offering an amendment.
Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., said some Republicans think a nonpartisan “third party or parliamentarian” should rule on such disclosure matters, but he stopped short of saying he would oppose the bill. …
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to say whether he would support the bill. He noted that an objection from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina – who shares some of Coburn’s concerns – prevented House and Senate negotiators from working on a final draft in conference.
“As a result of that, none of our people were involved in the final product,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “But in a sense, we made it difficult on ourselves because one of our members prevented us from going to conference.”

So with the biggest Republican porker in the Senate answering search warrants from both the FBI and the IRS today, the GOP chooses today to shrug off the dilution of key earmark reforms? What’s left on earmarks is almost useless, and earmarks have been at the heart of almost every major public corruption case over the last few Congresses.
That’s not to say that the bill doesn’t have other good points. It puts more pressure for disclosure of “bundling” contributions from lobbyists to political campaigns, for example, and it does require the reporting of earmarks 48 hours before a vote. However, it doesn’t require that for conference reports, and it fails to provide the easy accountability that the previous version did — the version that Democrats used to congratulate themselves on their new direction on ethics in January.
Mitch McConnell has done an especially good job as Minority Leader so far in this session. He must believe that opposing the bill in its current form would allow the Democrats to paint the GOP as opposed to reform. We need to demonstrate that we need real earmark reform, not another coat of varnish on the existing system — and that fighting for real reform will win the confidence of voters in the long run.

20 thoughts on “Senate GOP Caucus Caving On Earmarks?”

  1. Valid criticisms, and the heat needs to be kept on the earmark issues and other reforms mentioned (I’m especially disappointed they have apparently stripped the searchable database element). But as the Captain points out, there are good points in the bill, so let’s give credit where credit is due. This is a modest step in the right direction, and a bigger step than has been taken in years.

  2. After having porked up on earmarks from 2000 to 2006, the Republicans should to take a principled stand … because the bill has been diluted … all the strong principles that they wanted to pass when they were in the majority for 6 years has been taken out!

  3. At least the Democrats and Republicans have found something they can all agree on. They LOVE to spend America’s money.

  4. Hardly a dimes worth of difference ……………between the Dems and the GOP ……….when it comes to pork.
    They are like crack addicts …………addicted to spending.

  5. Hardly a dines worth of difference between the Dems and the GOP when it comes to pork.
    How about when it comes to anything that will benefit these blood sucking self promoting pick pockets.
    These people are corrupt and dishonest. There is no other way to describe them.
    Barry Goldwater in his book “Goldwater “said the overwhelming majority of all The Congress only worked three days a week. They took off Friday to head home, got back late Monday and worked Tues, Wed. and Thursday.
    Really public service at it’s best.

  6. The solution to the problem is both simple and politically impossible: ban earmarks and riders of all sorts. Limit each bill to one topic.

  7. Can some one tell me what part about FULL DISCLOSURE of earmarks to the general public that deserves to know BEEFore the bill is presented,—-both sides of the isle don’t understand? Does the 14% approval rating mean anything to these people? Like, we’re kinda paying attention.

  8. GOP Caucus caving? Please –
    They had years to pass any real reform they wanted. They had every branch of government. If they wanted to pass legislation to clean the place up, they could have. They didn’t.
    Don’t try to spin this as if the democrats are the bad ones here; at least they are doing something.

  9. Posted by: Rovin at July 31, 2007 8:59 PM
    They are like “SO, what’er you gonna do about it?”
    Do you think for one minute they believe the American public will find a viable solution that will really stop them?
    No, they do not.

  10. Don’t try to spin this as if the democrats are the bad ones here; at least they are doing something.
    Posted by: ck at July 31, 2007 10:26 PM
    Oh YEAH! Like they are doing “SOMETHING”, all right!
    HAW HAW HAW!!!!
    They are ALWAYS “doing something”!
    HAW HAW HAW!!!!!

  11. I understand that Alberto Gonzales hasn’t delivered a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee today by the promised noon deadline.
    Seems Alberto is stuck on the salutation of the letter.
    He started with “Dear gentlemen,” but Gonzales said that really sounded like perjury.

  12. Mitch McConnell has done an especially good job as Minority Leader so far in this session. He must believe that opposing the bill in its current form would allow the Democrats to paint the GOP as opposed to reform.

    This is the same Mitch McConnell that helped lead the charge of GOP VOTING FOR SHAMESTY??????????
    So really barfing.
    ~~Well, she took real good care of her husband, up til the moment she stabbed him to death, that is, Deary.~~
    We’ve been sending a consistent message – we ain’t interested in no idiots tapping the brakes lightly as the Dims rush 120 MPH off the washed out bridge.
    This is time for a full scale HALT AND REVERSAL – and “APPEARANCES” and TORPEDOES be #%$##.
    It’s time for someone who wants to be re-elected to TAKE A PHRRYEEQUEING STAND! HAVING DONE ALL!

  13. He started with “Dear gentlemen,” but Gonzales said that really sounded like perjury.
    Posted by: Neo at August 1, 2007 12:11 AM
    Oh! THAT is SOOOO RICH!!!

  14. Rovin,
    I think that, while Congress has a dismal approval rating, the average member of Congress has a pretty good rating. That bunch of thieves, perverts and wardheelers on Capitol Hill KNOW that they have something like a 95% chance of being reelected; they and their predecessors have done a good job rigging the system in favor of incumbents. So, I think that SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry, and even Cold Cash Jefferson will be reelected when they run for office again… and again… and again.

  15. Curious that those search warrents were executed directly before the vote on “ethics reform”. What would a Republican look like if he voted against “ethics reform” the day that the headlines were trumpeting a Republican senator up to his neck in graft and feeb investigators? Question the timing…
    Seriously though, good riddance to bad senators, and this is not the first time that a bill’s substance fell short of living up to its name. That’s part of the game after all.

  16. Ethics reform is an oxymoron! If our elected officials were as ethical as they’d like us to believe (fat chance) there’d be no reason for reform.
    Meanwhile, since we’re not living in this fantasy, the more reform, the better! Too bad that most of the more stringent reform has already been stripped from the bill.

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