Outgoing Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said Sunday that the earmark ban spearheaded by ascendant Tea Party Republicans is a "complete charade" because it will not affect the budget.

Dorgan appeared with outgoing Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) on CNN's "State of the Union," where they discussed the proposed moratorium.

"It's a complete charade," Dorgan said. "You can get rid of every single earmark. It's not going to change one cent in federal spending. It's a charade trying to direct attention over here when the big issue is an unsustainable fiscal policy put in place largely by the 2001 tax cuts."

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He called Republicans dishonest for acting as if the earmark issue is a large part of fiscal policy.

"The problem is, it is not. It just isn't," he said.


Obey agreed, saying that he ultimately doesn't care what happens with the ban because earmarks are "inconsequential" and "less than half a percent of the budget."

"As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I don't care what happens to earmarks," Obey said. "If the Congress is hellbent on turning over that power to the president, they'll have to live with it."

Both members, retiring in January, said they disagree with the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. Dorgan said he would agree to a temporary one for earners of up to $250,000 annually.

"What's likely to happen is there will be an extension of the tax cuts for everybody for a period of time," he said. "I don't know what that might be. But it's the wrong remedy for the country."