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Senate GOP Passes Earmark Moratorium

November 16, 2010
tags: Bennie Thompson, Congress, earmarks, Gene Taylor, Nancy Pelosi, Roger Wicker, Thad Cochran
by Brett

The Republican conference in the Senate voted to voluntarily ban earmarks today in a secret vote that The Hill described as “nearly unanimous.” Earlier today, we posted Roger Wicker’s statement in support of the moratorium; here is what Thad Cochran said:

“I remain unconvinced that fiscal prudence is effectively advanced by ceding to the Obama administration our constitutional authority to determine federal expenditures, but an earmark moratorium is the will of the Republican Conference. If this is what it takes to get Congress focused on the real steps needed to get our fiscal house in order, then I will take the views of my Republican colleagues to heart. Restraining overall spending and eliminating waste in government will require our undivided attention.”

The comment about the will of the Republican conference is key to me. In a National Journal article from this morning, Cochran’s office would not commit to complying with the ban.

** On Wicker, I had said he was going to oppose the ban using a whip count from the group Taxpayers Against Earmarks. That information was obviously wrong. I was told that the group never contacted their Senator’s office before making their declaration obviously leaving Wicker’s office frustrated with what was out there.

*** Also with Wicker, we had previously mentioned that at least one prominent conservative blog labeled the Republican Senator a strong contender to face a Tea-Party backed challenge. This one vote today is just one vote, but it would certainly make that (very difficult) task even more difficult.

Taylor says Pelosi should ‘walk away.’ Because he lost re-election, Gene Taylor will not be able to vote for the next Democratic leadership, but he offered his own advice to Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is looking to be Minority Leader: walk away.

Taylor opined that if Pelosi remains it power it will hurt his party’s chances of reclaiming the majority in 2012. He said would have supported North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler if he had a vote.

** Taylor also said he’s not planning on running again in two years.

Black Caucus not sold on position for Clyburn. We have been following the potential leadership fight between Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, which seemed to disappear when Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a new number three spot for the minority.

Clyburn would lose a straight-up fight with Hoyer. However, Clyburn is also the highest ranking African-American in the House so it’s certainly a sensitive issue among the caucus.

Today, we saw reports that some in the CBC want to hear more specifics on this proposed position for Clyburn before offering support; and they may even hold off support for Pelosi giving the Speaker another headache in her quest to remain the top Democrat in the House.

Bennie Thompson had previously announced his support for Clyburn.

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