GOP Senators Rule Out Earmarks for 112th Congress

Conservatives made their presence felt in Washington: the Senate Republican Conference voted to ban earmarks for the 112th Congress.

When earmark moratoriums were considered as part of other issues, the Senate GOP generally opposed them, but in the past reformers lacked the necessary votes. With a stronger majority in the next Congress, Republican Senators faced a decision: follow through with an earmark moratorium, or return to the spending practices that characterized their last majority. When Senator DeMint began circulating his proposal, many Senators refused to take a public position on the rule vote. As conservative Senators and conservative activists pushed the issue, the GOP establishment began to get on board. Senator McConnell’s Monday announcement of his support sealed the deal.

Two important forces made this happen, and mark a change for the next Congress:

  1. Conservative Freshman Senators: notably, early in the effort, the majority of the freshman Senators signed onto Senator DeMint’s letter. These Senators are fresh from electoral politics, and are in the closest touch with their constituents. Their immediate support of the earmarks moratorium signaled the importance of taking real conservative positions in the new Senate. Look for this group to continue moving the Republican Conference when they solidify around a policy.
  2. Conservative Activists: a variety of conservative activist groups, including Heritage Action, pushed their networks to call and otherwise support Senator DeMint’s proposal. This immediate, coordinated mobilization of thousands of committed activists across the country sealed the deal. This network connected the anti-spending sentiment with an actionable policy–and Senators got the message.

We at Heritage Action are excited about both new forces, especially our conservative activists. Their phone calls and call reports enabled us to help push the earmarks moratorium. The next Congress could be shaped not by Washington insiders, but by the American people. And that is exciting.

Stay tuned to Heritage Action as the fight against earmarks and other wasteful spending practices continues.

Many of our activists have joined our online activist platform, where they get the latest action alerts from us and interact about their conservative experiences.

Please Share Your Thoughts

28 thoughts on “GOP Senators Rule Out Earmarks for 112th Congress

  1. Stopping earmarks is a start. We have to aim higher and stop all subsidies to industries that can’t sustain themselves. Why is US paying subsidizing an French nuclear company that the French government owns? There are others with their hand in the till, e.g., subsidizing ethanol. That’s where we can cut billions in spending.

  2. Stopping earmarks is a start. We have to aim higher and stop all subsidies to industries that can’t sustain themselves. Why is US paying subsidizing an French nuclear company that the French government owns? There are others with their hand in the till, e.g., subsidizing ethanol. That’s where we can cut billions in spending.

  3. Who of the freshman Senators did not vote in favor with DeMint? And why?
    The new members of the 112th vowed to stop the earmarks in their campaigns and we have to know whom is not holding up their end.

    • Nancy,

      The vote was a voice vote, and according to reports, almost all voted with Senator DeMint. The momentum behind the proposal was strong, so most Senators and Senators-elect went with it.

      On Monday, the NRO reported that some freshman Senators had taken strong, early stances with Senator DeMint: “High-profile senators-elect like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, among others, have also voiced their support.”

      Nathanael

  4. Who of the freshman Senators did not vote in favor with DeMint? And why?
    The new members of the 112th vowed to stop the earmarks in their campaigns and we have to know whom is not holding up their end.

    • Nancy,

      The vote was a voice vote, and according to reports, almost all voted with Senator DeMint. The momentum behind the proposal was strong, so most Senators and Senators-elect went with it.

      On Monday, the NRO reported that some freshman Senators had taken strong, early stances with Senator DeMint: “High-profile senators-elect like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, among others, have also voiced their support.”

      Nathanael

  5. Way to go Republicans, doing what is right for this country instead of politics. Earmarks are all about buying votes for re-election and I applaud Republicans for this. Can you imagine Pelosi or most Dems. voting for this?? LOL

  6. Way to go Republicans, doing what is right for this country instead of politics. Earmarks are all about buying votes for re-election and I applaud Republicans for this. Can you imagine Pelosi or most Dems. voting for this?? LOL

  7. Wasn’t it earmarks that carried the healthcare vote? Without these promises, would the bill have passed? Let’s put things in perspective…With our representatives, FAVORS begat FAVORS and it’s time to STOP. We’re broke. You were elected to represent all people. Time to rise to the occasion.

  8. Wasn’t it earmarks that carried the healthcare vote? Without these promises, would the bill have passed? Let’s put things in perspective…With our representatives, FAVORS begat FAVORS and it’s time to STOP. We’re broke. You were elected to represent all people. Time to rise to the occasion.

    • Mike,

      The vote was a voice vote that witnesses described as nearly unanimous. We know that Senator James Inhofe voted against the moratorium, based on his public statements. It seems like most of the other Senators got in line on this one.

      Nathanael

    • Mike,

      The vote was a voice vote that witnesses described as nearly unanimous. We know that Senator James Inhofe voted against the moratorium, based on his public statements. It seems like most of the other Senators got in line on this one.

      Nathanael

  9. We need Congress to pass Federal Sunset Act HR 393 and Federal Spending Act HR 311 to stop funding failed, obsolete agencies. What is the possibility in 212th Congress to get these bills passed?

  10. We need Congress to pass Federal Sunset Act HR 393 and Federal Spending Act HR 311 to stop funding failed, obsolete agencies. What is the possibility in 212th Congress to get these bills passed?

  11. we need the list of ANY and ALL republicans that did not support this measure…………………….hold their feet to the coals and make um burn. this is the only way to try to control “career politicians” long live the TEA party movement

  12. we need the list of ANY and ALL republicans that did not support this measure…………………….hold their feet to the coals and make um burn. this is the only way to try to control “career politicians” long live the TEA party movement

  13. I realize that the “No Earmarks” vote was a voice vote (by the way, how very convenient for the Senators that we cannot now determine, for certain, exactly who voted yea or nay on this. This voice vote ploy and maneuver has been another tool used by Congress to avoid accountability to their constituents. I, for one, demand greater scrutiny ! Permanently abolish the voice vote for both houses and insist that only roll-call/name votes be allowed in committees and floor votes. This bit of folly and public deception has GOT to stop.
    Does anyone know how “Senator Slug”, AKA Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, voted on this issue? I cannot imagine Lisa opting for any restraints on her funding (read vote-buying pork ), to native bush Alaska residents. The senators and Representatives will most likely begin calling earmarks by a different catch phrase in Congress rather than abandon the process of pork and patronage.
    The native folks in Alaska always have their hands out for grants, special rights, subsidized electric rates, funding for native villages, the list seems endless. One only has to open the pages of the Alaska Journal of Commerce to see the outrageous amounts of Federal taxpayer monies which flow into Native coffers.
    Like her father before her, Sen.Frank “the bank” Murkowski , as well as former Senator Ted Stevens ; Lisa Murkowski is only too happy to accomodate Bush Alaska at the expense of Americans nationwide as well as Alaskans. As our resident RINO, Lisa is no better than than our boy Senator Mark Begich (Dem.). Both pander to liberal causes.

  14. I realize that the “No Earmarks” vote was a voice vote (by the way, how very convenient for the Senators that we cannot now determine, for certain, exactly who voted yea or nay on this. This voice vote ploy and maneuver has been another tool used by Congress to avoid accountability to their constituents. I, for one, demand greater scrutiny ! Permanently abolish the voice vote for both houses and insist that only roll-call/name votes be allowed in committees and floor votes. This bit of folly and public deception has GOT to stop.
    Does anyone know how “Senator Slug”, AKA Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, voted on this issue? I cannot imagine Lisa opting for any restraints on her funding (read vote-buying pork ), to native bush Alaska residents. The senators and Representatives will most likely begin calling earmarks by a different catch phrase in Congress rather than abandon the process of pork and patronage.
    The native folks in Alaska always have their hands out for grants, special rights, subsidized electric rates, funding for native villages, the list seems endless. One only has to open the pages of the Alaska Journal of Commerce to see the outrageous amounts of Federal taxpayer monies which flow into Native coffers.
    Like her father before her, Sen.Frank “the bank” Murkowski , as well as former Senator Ted Stevens ; Lisa Murkowski is only too happy to accomodate Bush Alaska at the expense of Americans nationwide as well as Alaskans. As our resident RINO, Lisa is no better than than our boy Senator Mark Begich (Dem.). Both pander to liberal causes.

  15. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN WHY EARMARKS ARE ALLOWED AT ALL ?
    Why should taxpayers of 49 others states pay for projects or grants that are exclusively for the benefit of one state? That would be like me expecting the residents in my community to pay for a pool or home improvement to my property, am I wrong? I would have to use my own money or borrow from a financial institution if I qualified and pay it back with interest.

    The only rational I can think of would be if the Project would in some way benefit all or most of the other states, which from all I have heard is rarely the case. Each state should be responsible for its own programs, projects and stuff they want or need. Let them use their own funds or borrow just like We the People have to. Enough Bribery and Corruption, boy were our forefathers right on ?

    Am I over simplifying this? I am one of those sleeping giants that has finally awoken to the nauseating reality of “congressional sausage making” and joined the Tea Party Movement. Finally I think they are starting to HEAR US NOW.
    Any response would be appreciated

  16. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN WHY EARMARKS ARE ALLOWED AT ALL ?
    Why should taxpayers of 49 others states pay for projects or grants that are exclusively for the benefit of one state? That would be like me expecting the residents in my community to pay for a pool or home improvement to my property, am I wrong? I would have to use my own money or borrow from a financial institution if I qualified and pay it back with interest.

    The only rational I can think of would be if the Project would in some way benefit all or most of the other states, which from all I have heard is rarely the case. Each state should be responsible for its own programs, projects and stuff they want or need. Let them use their own funds or borrow just like We the People have to. Enough Bribery and Corruption, boy were our forefathers right on ?

    Am I over simplifying this? I am one of those sleeping giants that has finally awoken to the nauseating reality of “congressional sausage making” and joined the Tea Party Movement. Finally I think they are starting to HEAR US NOW.
    Any response would be appreciated

  17. We were ripped off by Obama, GM is selling IPO stock and we the tax payers are losing $ 32 B, from the bailout while UAW is making $ 48B and they didn’t contribute anything to GM, is anyone besides me upset?

  18. We were ripped off by Obama, GM is selling IPO stock and we the tax payers are losing $ 32 B, from the bailout while UAW is making $ 48B and they didn’t contribute anything to GM, is anyone besides me upset?

  19. What a shame earmarks have come down to this. An earmark (if that is what you want to call it), use to be an appropriation for your district. But because of a few idiots, they are now the curse of Washington. Funding for appropriations (earmarks) are allocated each year to Congress and the Senate. If your Congressman doesn’t ask for funding for your district, it goes back into the pot for spending by the Federal Government. Now if you are going to tell me your Congressman doesn’t know how to better spend your tax dollars in your district then the Federal Government God only help you. I am neither a conservative nor liberal, but like to think I take a middle of road position on issues. But if you are going to label everything white or black, no funding will ever come back to your district from your tax dollars.

  20. What a shame earmarks have come down to this. An earmark (if that is what you want to call it), use to be an appropriation for your district. But because of a few idiots, they are now the curse of Washington. Funding for appropriations (earmarks) are allocated each year to Congress and the Senate. If your Congressman doesn’t ask for funding for your district, it goes back into the pot for spending by the Federal Government. Now if you are going to tell me your Congressman doesn’t know how to better spend your tax dollars in your district then the Federal Government God only help you. I am neither a conservative nor liberal, but like to think I take a middle of road position on issues. But if you are going to label everything white or black, no funding will ever come back to your district from your tax dollars.

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