Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is trying to marshal support for a ban on earmarks by Republican senators during the 112th Congress.
DeMint will force a secret ballot vote on his moratorium proposal next week. Spokesman Wesley Denton said DeMint expects the measure to pass the caucus, although it won’t have the force of law.
DeMint issued a statement Tuesday that named 10 Republican senators who are publicly backing the earmark suspension. The list included Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation MORE (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.), Mike EnziMike EnziDem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ Trump Education pick: States should decide on allowing guns in schools Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal MORE (Wyo.) and John CornynJohn CornynGOP eyes new push to break up California court Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch MORE (Texas) and senators-elect Pat Toomey (Pa.), Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (Fla.), Rand PaulRand PaulDems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts Trump team prepares dramatic cuts Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeBooker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonOvernight Healthcare: GOP governors defend Medicaid expansion GOP senator: Let's work with Dems to 'fix' ObamaCare Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power MORE (Wis.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (N.H.).
Elected members of the 112th Congress will be able to vote on the proposal, but it is unclear which, if any, of those newly elected members will be present for the ballot.
The earmark vote pits DeMint, a favorite of the Tea Party, against GOP Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump to meet with congressional leaders Monday: report Meet Trump's secret weapon on infrastructure Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era MORE (R-Ky.), who has argued a ban would do little to control spending while weakening congressional authority.
“The earmark debate is really about executive branch versus legislative branch discretion,” McConnell said in an interview with The Hill this summer. “Are you going to give 100 percent discretion to the president? Are you going to retain some for yourself?
“[An earmark ban] saves no money. The money is saved in the overall aggregate. … I’m in favor of spending less. I’m not in favor of giving any president 100 percent discretion over what we do spend — this one, or any other,” McConnell said.
DeMint has tried and failed several times to pass an earmark moratorium through the full Senate, most notably this past March, when the Senate voted 68-29 against a two-year ban.
Twenty-four Republicans, a majority of the GOP caucus, supported DeMint’s move at the time, along with Democratic Sens. Evan Bayh (Ind.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillMattis's views on women in combat takes center stage Why Congress should move cautiously with online sex sites Cory Booker kicks off 2020 maneuvering in the Senate MORE (Mo.), Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Ted Kaufman (Del.)
House Republicans passed an earmark ban this year in their caucus, and GOP Whip Eric CantorEric CantorRyan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote Financial technology rules are set to change in the Trump era Trump allies warn: No compromise on immigration MORE (Va.) is considering an extension when the party assumes power in the chamber next year.
DeMint also plans to push for an amendment by Cornyn that would establish a caucus policy of supporting a congressional balanced budget amendment while requiring a supermajority to raise taxes.
"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.