It’s no surprise that President Obama has remained deaf to the voter’s outcry over the explosion of government spending, but it is disheartening to see some Republican members of the Senate ignore the majority of their own electorate in order to protect their fiefdom.
In a Tuesday statement, Sen. Jim DeMint released the names of 10 Republican senators who have publicly backed his call for a ban on earmarks in the 112th Congress. This has placed him squarely in opposition to senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other establishment Republicans, particularly Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.), who are in favor of continuing the long standing congressional practice. “These (earmarks) have been demagogued for two years now” Inhofe said, “This is an Obama-DeMint-McCain effort…I’ll lose on this, but I want to be on the record.”
Even though he concedes that DeMint will prevail, Sen. Inhofe is set to go on the floor of the chamber and single out Sen. DeMint and Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) as being hypocritical with their support of the ban. Admitting that the earmark debate “has generated some level of controversy within our caucus”, McConnell opposes the removal of earmarks and has framed the battle as a debate about “executive-branch spending versus legislative-branch discretion” that would save no money and weaken congressional authority.
While it is true, that earmarks are but a tiny fraction of the bloated Federal budget, there comes a time when someone has to stand up and say “No more” and here is where Sen. DeMint has drawn his line. The vote sought by Sen. DeMint would only apply to Senate Republicans and would not have the force of law, but it has become obvious that this battle is the only the first shot in what could be a contentious Republican caucus as the newly elected Tea Party members seek to exert their influence on their senate colleagues.