15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban

Fifteen Senate Republicans have signed a 'Dear Colleague' letter pledging to oppose lifting the earmark ban that has been a Senate GOP conference rule since 2010.

Republican senators are expected to vote by secret ballot on the issue Wednesday.

Senate Republicans will take up the issue after the House Republican Conference voted in March to lift the earmark ban it adopted in March of 2010, which effectively put a stop to lawmakers putting pet projects into spending bills.

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) and 14 other Senate Republicans on Monday informed colleagues they "stand committed to the ban on earmarks."

"We will not participate in an inherently wasteful spending practice that is prone to serious abuse," they wrote.

The other signatories were Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the former Senate majority whip and a candidate to someday succeed Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with GOP Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.).

Hawley, Cruz, Paul and Rubio are also viewed as potential presidential candidates in 2024.