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Bringing Harry Reid to His Knees on Earmark Reform

Republican Senator Jim DeMint led the fight to make earmarks transparent in new Senate rules. But Majority Leader Harry Reid fought tooth and nail to prevent that rule from passing, but he was brought to his knees and forced to cry uncle. By the time the dust settled, the rule passed 98 - 0.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The days of lawmakers slipping pet projects into spending bills at the last minute are ending after the Senate approved a new rule Tuesday forcing members to disclose requests for those "earmarks."


The earmarks would have to be posted on the Internet at least two days before legislation comes up for a vote.

The new disclosure requirements -- part of an ethics and lobbying overhaul that's expected to come up for a final vote later this week -- passed 98-0.

The House already approved similar language to combat earmarks, a much-maligned process in which spending items championed by individual lawmakers are buried in appropriations bills to ease them through the legislative machinery.

The rule change approved Tuesday does not prohibit earmarks, which critics often denounce as "pork barrel" spending. However, senators who request money for a project or tax break that benefits a select group must now provide a written statement outlining the purpose of the request and who will benefit, and certifying that they themselves will not benefit financially.

Those statements must be posted on the Internet within 48 hours after they are submitted to the committee with jurisdiction over the request.

Also, at least 48 hours before a bill comes up for a vote, any earmarks included in the legislation, and the names of their sponsors, must be listed on the Internet. This includes measures that bypass the normal committee process and conference reports reconciling differences between Senate and House bills -- both of which have been magnets for earmarks in the past.

Senators will also be prohibited from agreeing to include earmarks to induce another senator to vote their way on another bill.

The new disclosure requirements are similar to those passed by the House, although the House did not require information about earmarks to be posted on the Internet.

The disclosure rules, proposed by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, were originally opposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who backed language with a narrower definition of what constituted an earmark.

But after a procedural vote to shelve DeMint's proposal failed last week -- with nine Democrats breaking ranks -- Reid and the Democratic leadership changed course and backed the new requirements.

In spite of Reid's about face on DeMint's amendment, a source from inside the Senate says that Reid tried again today to block the Gregg Amendment, which would allow President Bush the power of earmark recission. That means he can send some earmarks back to the Senate to be voted on individually by the entire body. Reid ultimately succumbed to the pressure and agreed to negotiate with Gregg on his amendment. We all know the saying that actions speak louder than words. Well, for a man who says he wants reform and ethics in Congress, Reid is working awfully hard to make sure that billions of American taxpayer dollars flow freely to pork projects, away from any public scrutiny.


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Comments (26)

Hooray! I'm pleased to see ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Hooray! I'm pleased to see we finally have a majority party in Congress that is willing to break ranks with its leadership and let members vote how they think is right. After all, that's the reason why DeMint's proposal failed to make any ground at all under the Republican Congress, yes?

Thanks, Kim, for highlighting yet another good result of the Democrats' win in November! Keep 'em coming!

Yeah, its a shame the senat... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Yeah, its a shame the senate leader's personal preference to hide earmarks wont happen.

Maybe if he got some money from a SanFran tuna company, he could have gotten his way.

Brian, you're right!.. (Tha... (Below threshold)
Ran:

Brian, you're right!.. (Thank You NINE Dems!)..LOL.. *Wondering if Reid was as proud as Brian is!* a call to bench it, and was bit in the butt!

Dream on.... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Dream on.

Maybe if he got some mon... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Maybe if he got some money from a SanFran tuna company, he could have gotten his way.

Good one! Though you obviously missed when it was revealed that the Bush administration, not Pelosi, was behind the minimum wage exemption. Yet another example of the right's refusal to accept the truth.


Brian, you're right!.. (... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Brian, you're right!.. (Thank You NINE Dems!)..LOL..

You're welcome! Glad the Democrats make you so happy!

*Wondering if Reid was as proud as Brian is!*

Probably not. But then, I don't give a rat's ass about Reid.

Anybody else notice the sna... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

Anybody else notice the snarky little editorial comment in the CNN story?

"... earmarks, a much-maligned process in which spending items championed by individual lawmakers are buried in appropriations bills..."

The bickering will proceed ... (Below threshold)

The bickering will proceed apace here -- but truthfully, the only guy here who really deserves the gold star is DeMint -- and there is some truth to the notion that this occurred due to the change in power -- not that the Dem majority deserves any credit for it (other than the nine renegades), given Reid's resistence.

All Republicans should welc... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

All Republicans should welcome transparency in government operations (I know I do), and the power this rule devolves to the People. Such developments isolate the Trotskyite-Bushbot phony, go-along "Republikans" for what they are (re: Kim's situational-ethics-style post): Toads!...P.S. Who CARES what "Reid" wants???

Just a thought out of the b... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Just a thought out of the blue.

Wasn't it a Rovian plot to lower gas prices just before the election and to raise them back after the election. They are still down and lower than at election time. Has Rove's magic disappeared or did the dhimmi's pass along another wagon load of horse manure? I'll opt for the horse manure since that's all they have.

I wonder if the island will sink for the weight of the new minimum wage money.

Yep, last session the lefta... (Below threshold)
bill:

Yep, last session the leftards in the Senate filibustered the exact same bill. Now everyone but the same Senate Leader wants the credit.

The good news is the leftard's earmarks will now be out in the opne ... field day.

Good one! Though you obv... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Good one! Though you obviously missed when it was revealed that the Bush administration, not Pelosi, was behind the minimum wage exemption. Yet another example of the right's refusal to accept the truth.

And as further pointed out a few posts later, Samoa has always been traditionally lower than the mainland.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/americanSamoa/ASminwage.htm

Some of us do have reading and comprehending skills here, you know.

Wasn't it a Rovian plot ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Wasn't it a Rovian plot to lower gas prices just before the election and to raise them back after the election. They are still down and lower than at election time.

$1.97 here. Maybe the Democrats are now manipulating the prices to make Pelosi look good (Hey, it's about as valid as the Rovian plot...Thanks Nancy!)

What century will the "100"... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

What century will the "100" hours end in? A broken clock is right twice a day. Will the dhimmi's ever match that?

Man the election and the honeymoon has been great fun.

Think i'll call congressman Wuuu Wu and see if I can visit the Klingon's in the White house, or is he the only one able to see tham?

Good one! Though you ob... (Below threshold)
marc:

Good one! Though you obviously missed when it was revealed that the Bush administration, not Pelosi, was behind the minimum wage exemption. Yet another example of the right's refusal to accept the truth.
:: by Brian on January 17, 2007 9:32 PM ::

Sorry and transparent attempt at deflection. Bush had zero to do with what PorkMistress Pelosi tried to foist off on the taxpayers.

She and her ilk may have parroted some of what was already on the books, however the fact she tried to extend-amend-rewrite it places the onus squarely on her.

And as further pointed o... (Below threshold)
Brian:

And as further pointed out a few posts later, Samoa has always been traditionally lower than the mainland.

Point noted. It still wasn't Pelosi.

Wasn't it a Rovian plot ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Wasn't it a Rovian plot to lower gas prices just before the election and to raise them back after the election.

Yep. Just like the stock market was supposed to crash right after the Dems took over Congress.

Congresswoman Pelosi gets a... (Below threshold)
PorkSaladSandwich:

Congresswoman Pelosi gets a chance to up the minimum wage and take Samoans out of a traditionally lower minimum wage rate (obviously, President Bush's fault) and gives it a pass? Sounds almost like she understands what setting artificial prices on labor does to a free market. Let's apply it to the fifty states.

Well, I'm pleasantly surpri... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Well, I'm pleasantly surprised to see this Senate rule pass, and I don't much care how it happened. Maybe there really is a little bit of bipartisanship on a few things. Although I can't help but think those nine Demos who broke ranks just made a career-limiting move with their party.

As for the Gregg amendment, although I fully support the idea, I'm afraid it's unconstitutional as written. I can't see how it differs from a line-item veto, which the Supremes have already ruled on.

ScrapIron writes;<blo... (Below threshold)
John:

ScrapIron writes;

Wasn't it a Rovian plot to lower gas prices just before the election and to raise them back after the election. They are still down and lower than at election time.

Good to see Scrappy is still as deranged as allways. Gas has been going up steadily here since November, up about 50 cents to almost $2.80 now in some areas.

I'd hardly call that down, but it's the typical up is down, white is black, truth is a lie logic he spouts. Hard to take any of that serious. Sometimes I think he's just playing us.

And the ability of liberal ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

And the ability of liberal politicians from slipping pork spending into important bills going through the senate and congress stop their free for all poppycock

FLASH!!!!!! Swamp water bac... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

FLASH!!!!!! Swamp water backing up fast. NEW FLASH!!!! Cause has been found--pipe was stopped up with TUNA cans.
To "johnie"--gas here -$2.08

Oh, <a href="http://www.was... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Oh, look. Republicans use a *gasp* filibuster to block the ethics reform bill. I thought only obstructionists used a filibuster. Doesn't the bill deserve an up or down vote?

I could go on and on with the laughable hypocrisy and obstructionism, but I'll stop there.

Seeing as how the GOP never... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Seeing as how the GOP never opposed the usage of filibusters WITH THE EXCEPTION OF WITH FEDERAL JUDGES, your point is moot. But, most of your points tend to be moot.

If you're going to do reforms, do it all or nothing. Piecemeal reform will never get accomplished.
-=Mike

So in other words, the Repu... (Below threshold)
Brian:

So in other words, the Republican stance is that a filibuster is not inherently bad or good, but that its goodness or badness should be evaluated with respect to whether it's used for something that Republicans want. Gotcha.

No, the Republican view is ... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

No, the Republican view is that a judicial nominee is not a piece of legislation. Congress has a role to advise and consent.

If they refuse to advise, then consent should be removed as well.

It's not like this wasn't spelled out, in excruciating detail, last year.

Pay attention.
-=Mike




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