Monday, November 15, 2010

McConnell Listens to People; Backs DeMint's Earmark Ban

In the summer of 2009 Sen. Jim DeMint decided to endorse a largely unknown state legislator battling a sitting governor for the Republican nomination for Senate. At the time this primary challenge was considered a quixotic quest, and a political impossibility. After Marco Rubio won overwhelmingly in the general election, Sen. DeMint turned his sights to passing a Republican Senate Conference ban on earmarks. At the time, Sen. McConnell, along with D.C. lobbyists, and conservative senators like Sen. Inhofe, and Sen. Thune were leading the fight to protect earmarks. Grassroots groups like FRC, RedState, and AFP joined Sen. DeMint in the trenches pushing hard for Senate Republicans to take this first symbolic step in the war on spending.

Today Sen. McConnell announced that he was going to support an earmark moratorium for this session of congress.

"Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress."

Is there a purpose for earmarks? Yes. However it is very encouraging to see Sen. McConnell listen to the American people and support banning them for this congress as they work on solving the major fiscal crisis in this nation. A leadership willing to listen to the American people instead of blindly doing what they desire inspires hope and renews confidence.

With senate Republicans joining House in banning earmarks, and most of our presidential contenders supporting the effort as well, the party is solidly on the right side of this issue.

Marco Rubio's strong challenge to Charlie Crist lead to many other conservative challenges this cycle, and ultimately to a more conservative Republican Senate Conference. Let's hope this victory on earmarks is a sign of even better things to come legislatively this congress. Extending the Bush Tax Cuts? Balanced Budget Amendment?

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