Democrats who voted against Pelosi earmark say it’s nothing personal

Democrats who voted to strike one of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) earmarks from a spending bill say the Speaker shouldn’t take it personally.

Five Democratic members voted for an amendment offered last week that would have stricken an earmark sponsored by Pelosi from the energy and water appropriations bill.

The amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) failed, 125-301.

Pelosi’s earmark seeks $2 million for the Fort Mason Center Pier 2 Project, which is based in Pelosi’s San Francisco district.

The five Democrats who voted to strike the money from the bill were Walt Minnick (Idaho), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Melissa Bean (Ill.), Bobby Bright (Ala.) and Ron Kind (Wis.).

Pelosi, as is the custom on most roll calls, did not vote.

John Foster, Minnick’s communications director, said his boss voted to strip the provision from the bill because “Walt believes strongly that the earmark process should be eliminated.

“Walt has voted consistently for every measure to strip earmarks from legislation, and that has at times meant voting against the earmarks of friends, colleagues and members of leadership. It is not personal,” Foster added.

Cooper “believes our earmark process needs to be reformed” and votes against earmarks regardless of who the sponsor is, according to Peter Boogaard, Cooper’s press secretary.

Bean’s, Bright’s and Kind’s spokesmen did not comment by press time.

Most Republican members of the Appropriations Committee voted to support the Speaker’s earmark.