Senate Democrats ought not think they are immune to the earmarks issue because Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn promises to attach a ban to the first available piece of legislation in the lame duck session that started this week.
“The American people have sent a clear message that it is time for this body to make hard choices and live within our means. Imposing a moratorium on earmarks is an important step that will – as a matter of symbol and substance – begin a new era of sobriety in Washington,” Coburn said.
“President Obama, the debt commission and the American people – by a 2 to 1 margin – all agree it is time to end this practice. America did just fine for 200 years without earmarks and Congress will do just fine without them as we begin the hard work of putting our nation on a sustainable path,” he said.
Coburn points to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to bring up a food safety bill that significantly expands federal regulatory authority in the field as evidence that the Nevada Democrat got the wrong message from the 2010 mid-term congressional election.
“By moving to the food safety bill, Senator Reid is picking up where he left off before the election – growing the size and scope of government and saddling our grandchildren with more debt,” Coburn said.
“But the American people have repudiated Washington’s business as usual practices and are demanding fiscal responsibility. Senator Reid will have an important choice between holding a transparent vote on earmarks and obstructing the American people’s desire for fiscal sanity.
“Nothing is more relevant or germane than beginning the hard work of getting our fiscal house in order. No bill should move before Senators vote on this matter, particularly a bill that continues the borrow-and-spend status quo voters rejected.”
There's no such thing as a free lunch or earmark.