It still takes a Republican to make the earmark reforms that the Democrats promised on the campaign trail. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was seeking to implement only a lite version of Earmark reform until Republican Senator Jim DeMint scuttled him. DeMint is slowly proving himself as the most honest man in the Senate.
This from the Las Vegas Sun:
Just days into the new Congress during a debate on earmarks, a leading campaign issue last fall, nine Democratic senators broke with Reid to vote for a Republican amendment to beef-up his proposal to reform earmarks – the special spending provisions that lawmakers tuck into bills, almost always for pet projects in their home districts.
Senators wanted to require their colleagues put their names on virtually all earmarks, which run into the thousands.
Reid wanted to put names only on those earmarks that did not go to a federal agency but instead go to an outside entity. Those kinds of earmarks number in the hundreds, not thousands.
The story continues:
The amendment to his bill was authored by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, with backing from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. – the anti-pork duo who tried last fall to halt a massive year-end spending bill because of its earmarks.
While DeMint’s amendment would have required more than 12,000 earmarks to have names assigned to them, Reid’s legislation would cover about 500.
DeMint supported essentially the same disclosure that House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi put in place as part of the Democrats’ agenda for the first 100 hours – and that provision won over the likes of Democratic Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and John Kerry of Massachusetts, and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.