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McConnell backs earmark moratorium

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2010

Sen. Mitch McConnell has felt the heat and seen the light:

If the voters express themselves clearly and unequivocally on an issue, it’s not enough to persist in doing the opposite on the grounds that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s what elections are all about, after all. And if this election has shown us anything, it’s that Americans know the difference between talking about change, and actually delivering on it.

I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks. I’ve talked with my members. I’ve listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents.  And what I’ve concluded is that on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example. 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.

That should put an end to the stealth pro-pork movement in the Senate GOP ranks. With McConnell backing the DeMint proposal, I expect many of the other squishy Republicans who haven't declared yet to fall in behind their leader. FreedomWorks hasn't updated their tracking tally on the issue yet. If your senator is in the Not on Record column, you may still want to call or email — politely! The vote is scheduled for Tuesday. 

UPDATE (11/16): Senate Republicans adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarks today , challenged Democrats to do likewise, and called on the President to veto any bill containing earmarks. Two Democratic senators, Colorado's Mark Udall and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, have called on their caucus to follow suit. 

When the people lead, their leaders will follow. 

 

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