Pork pull in the Senate: Moratorium bid fails in the dark

posted at 7:35 am on March 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Remember how a dozen Senators lined up to co-sponsor Senator Jim DeMint’s one-year pork moratorium? Well, each of them brought a friend, but that was about all of the support the amendment received last night, when Harry Reid scheduled the vote. In the late hours of the night when news coverage would be minimal, the Senate rejected the moratorium, 29-71:

Even the entreaties of the three senators running for president weren’t enough to persuade their colleagues Thursday to curb their appetite for earmarks — the practice of designating federal dollars for pet projects.

Senators soundly rejected a one-year moratorium backed by the presidential hopefuls — Republican John McCain and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton — even though it put senators from both parties at odds with their presidential contenders.

The vote — 29 in favor of the proposal, 71 opposed — again demonstrated the enduring popularity of earmarks, even though they have figured prominently in recent congressional scandals, including one that landed former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham of Rancho Santa Fe in prison.

It also underscored the conflicting political interests of the presidential candidates — who see a strong stand against earmarks as a way to show fiscal discipline — and their Senate colleagues who see bringing home the bacon as a way to show constituents they are getting something back for their taxes.

All three presidential contenders voted in favor of the amendment. Barack Obama, who got stung by an earmark to his wife’s place of business and perhaps one directly related to a contributor, probably needed the vote more than Hillary Clinton, who isn’t exactly running as Ms. Clean anyway. John McCain has a long history of opposing earmarks. All three managed to cast a vote despite Reid’s sudden reschedule of the vote at the far end of the night.

The moratorium, unfortunately, has failed in the upper chamber, but there may be hope in the House. Nancy Pelosi has taken an interest in a moratorium for tactical purposes. She hopes to steal the reform issue from the GOP caucus, which proved insufficiently courageous during its retreat and passed on the opportunity for a unilateral moratorium. If the House passes a cessation of pork, the Senate may find itself embarrassed into reconsidering DeMint’s amendment.

It’s progress. A year ago, such a motion would not have threatened Reid into scheduling a vote late at night. Now we have all three presidential candidates giving it at least lip service. The Beltway has begun to understand voter anger over the corruption that pork brings.

However, some still need to get the message. Here are the Senators who voted against the pork moratorium:

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Bond (R-MO)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
Dodd (D-CT)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Stevens (R-AK)
Tester (D-MT)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Wyden (D-OR)

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I AM SO DISGUSTED WITH MY GOVERNMENT

Don’t confuse the bold, italic text with surprise.

A voice of reason on March 14, 2008 at 7:46 AM

Hey, how about a bill that says we’ll allow earmarks, but everyone who votes for it has to resign effective immediately?

James on March 14, 2008 at 7:57 AM

It’s silly anyway. We either have to get the politicians to stop spending or cut off their funds. If we get them to cut taxes and take away their play money they spend any how either by creating debt or printing money and creating inflation. If we leave it up to them not to spend we are asking them to try not to get re-elected for bringing home the bacon, yeah right.

It seems to me that we need a structural change to slow down government spending, either a line item veto which will not do much if one party has control of both the congressional an executive branches or a super majority for approving spending. Of the two I see the line item veto as the most likely to get past but think it would be the least effective of the two.

Kahuna on March 14, 2008 at 8:04 AM

My Republican senator voted against the moratorium, the Democrat for. What? Am I still in bed? Go Hoosiers?

token on March 14, 2008 at 8:06 AM

Truly, a parliament of whores.

Wanderlust on March 14, 2008 at 8:09 AM

Gee, what a surprise. My jokers senators (Kennedy, Kerry) voted against it…

chrissv on March 14, 2008 at 8:12 AM

There’s a nice chunk of Rs on that list. Not the best thing to wake up to.

NeoconNews.com on March 14, 2008 at 8:18 AM

I did a post yesterday on how my Rep and Senators did last year in the National Journal ratings. This fits with how Cornyn and Hutchison have been. She voted against this, he voted for it. She’s gone lefty on us, remember this down the road when she’s wanting to be President.

bikermailman on March 14, 2008 at 8:29 AM

My Rep tied for #1, btw. How did y’all’s Reps do? :P

bikermailman on March 14, 2008 at 8:30 AM

Asking these fat little piggies to voluntarily push themselves from the trough? Not going to happen.

These cretins oppose any attempts to expose what they do, even something reasonable like a 48 hour ban on new earmarks before the vote. They want the ability to slip in things at the last minute so it can’t be seen or challenged.

rockbend on March 14, 2008 at 8:40 AM

Gee, what a surprise. My jokers senators (Kennedy, Kerry) voted against it…

chrissv on March 14, 2008 at 8:12 AM

And so did mine (Cardin, Mikulski).

There’s a nice chunk of Rs on that list. Not the best thing to wake up to.

NeoconNews.com on March 14, 2008 at 8:18 AM

Overall, the R’s have been just as porcine as the D’s. Lots of pork got into spending bills during W’s first six years.

Bigfoot on March 14, 2008 at 8:43 AM

Yet another reason to give Hutchinson the boot the next time she’s up for reelection.

Rip Ford on March 14, 2008 at 8:45 AM

Boxer & Feinstein voted against the measure to curb wasteful earmarks?!?! How can this be? They are so responsible and trustworthy normally.
Wow. My view of them has changed.
/sarcasm

Seriously, it’s sad that these fools need a bill forcing them to cut back on the wasteful earmarks so we can trim up these account deficits a bit. I guess they’d rather drive us into the gutter in exchange for a shiny new sign on a bridge in east bum-’F’ California or whatever garbage they decide to drop a needless million or 15 on this week.

Seeing this list makes me wish we actually had a 3rd party again. Where are the Whigs when you need ‘em? :p

MannyT-vA on March 14, 2008 at 9:01 AM

I’m waiting on one of them to come up with the “Let them eat cake” line.

Catseye on March 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM

This bill was only for a one year cessation of pork spending; next year, things would have been back to usual. Sadly, 71 senators could not bring themselves to even pretend that they care about reform — even in an election year.

AZCoyote on March 14, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Today’s menu at the Congressional Cafeteria…

Spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam…

Bon Appetite

soulsirkus on March 14, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Yet another reason to give Hutchinson the boot the next time she’s up for reelection.

Rip Ford on March 14, 2008 at 8:45 AM

I’ve lost all faith in my ability to give incumbants the boot. Ron Paul won the Republican primary in my district! After everything that has come out about him, how can the Republicans line up and vote for him again? My district in unlikely to send a Democrat in the fall, so Ron Paul is going back to the House. What are the chances of booting Hutchinson next time she’s up? She’s considerably less crazy than the man leading the REVOLution!

TX Mom on March 14, 2008 at 9:59 AM

I cant understand yall. did you not hear Reid explaination that founding fathers wanted pork. and now you all are complaining they didnt stop it? how dare you go against the founding fathers wishes.

CaptainObvious on March 14, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Specter (R-PA)

Of course.

MarkoMancuso on March 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I read through some of Obama’s earmarks from 2005-06. What amazes me the most is when you see earmarks for small villages to bebuild their town center to improve their tax base.

How does the Constitution even come close to authorizing this type of spending by Congress?

Being from the People’s Soviet Republic of Washington, I don’t see us being able to push change any time soon…. Murray and Cantwell voted against the bill.

SouthernRoots on March 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

OUTRAGEOUS!

PA senators, Specter and Casey, voted against it. A pox on both their houses!

petefrt on March 14, 2008 at 10:46 AM

This is bad, but a bright spot is that both my senators (Burr, Dole) supported the idea. I will have to send them a note of thanks.

bookman on March 14, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Bah! Both of my wonderful WV senators voted against it. No surprise there I guess. The Grand Dragon of Pork himself Robert Byrd even left his hospital bed to be on hand to vote it down.

If you weren’t convinced before this vote should prove to every American that the Senate does not represent us nor do they care about what any of us want. All they care about is keeping their sorry behinds in office.

Nipsey on March 14, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Senator Cornyn voted for the pork moratorium. Makes my Friday morning bright.

RushBaby on March 14, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Being from the People’s Soviet Republic of Washington, I don’t see us being able to push change any time soon…. Murray and Cantwell voted against the bill.

SouthernRoots on March 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

May a thousand camels spit in their Starbuck’s caramel macchiato!

As for change, it’s coming for the Washington state constituents. I suspect that there are people in Boeing’s board rooms that are calculating the number of poor saps that they are going to lay-off as I am writing this comment (after the loss of the Air Force tanker contract to AirBus).

CyberCipher on March 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Gregg? Judd freakin’ Gregg?

Where’s the scotch?

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Oh, and thanks for the headline. I am now craving Neely’s Interstate.

DrSteve on March 14, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Claire McCaskill has been a major pleasant surprise in my eyes. She seems like one of those good ol’ fashioned blue-dog democrats. Good for her.

I watched this live on C-SPAN, and I was just sitting there shaking my head as all the Republicans voted “NAY”, and Oprahbama and Mrs. Clinton had the nerve to co-sponsor the bill and vote “YEA”.

SouthernGent on March 14, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Brownback is a yellow belly!

omnipotent on March 14, 2008 at 11:38 AM

No surprise the Sen. John Cornyn voted in favor. I was disappointed in Kay Bailey Hutchinson who voted against it though.

I just sent her office a letter of discontent, and asked for an explanation of why she voted against it.

I eagerly await her spin.

Robbie on March 14, 2008 at 12:04 PM

If the House passes a cessation of pork, the Senate may find itself embarrassed into reconsidering DeMint’s amendment.

The Senate being embarrassed? Not likely so long as Reid is Majority Leader. Come to think of it, I could list quite a few names that embarrass the Senate on a daily basis.

JohnnyD on March 14, 2008 at 12:13 PM

I was so excited when I saw the coverage of the blatantly corrupt earmark to UC’s hospital…then I realized it was your commentary and not actual media coverage.

I hope Mac mentions every name here, he promised to “make them famous”, lets start now.

Squid Shark on March 14, 2008 at 12:19 PM

I am most saddened by Brownack (who I supported mostly for his efforts for Darfur), Snowe, and Warner.

The rest (on both sides) do not suprise me one bit.

Squid Shark on March 14, 2008 at 12:22 PM

For all my disagreements with Feingold over his far left ideals, I can still respect his fiscal responsibility. The guy’s always been a clean whistle.

BadgerHawk on March 14, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Pennsylvania’s Casey the Useless and Arlen the Specter are there, standing in line to get their share of the no vote robbery of the People’s Treasury. Dirty rotten thieves.

Zorro on March 14, 2008 at 2:29 PM

No surprise the Sen. John Cornyn voted in favor. I was disappointed in Kay Bailey Hutchinson who voted against it though.

I just sent her office a letter of discontent, and asked for an explanation of why she voted against it.

I eagerly await her spin.

Robbie on March 14, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Just check out her website. She brags about how much money she brought back to her state(money that if it never left in the first place could have been better spent). I keep hearing rumors that she will run for Gov after Zoolander finishes his term. Cornyn is much better but still voted for the trans Texas corridor.

Corsair on March 14, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Any question why the country is so messed up(moderate, left wing)…remember how these elitist sob’s voted next time their up for re-election.

oldernslower on March 14, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Every single one of these freespending idiots should be voted out of office with extreme prejudice. The question is how to go about doing it. Can senators be recalled?

trigon on March 14, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Wouldn’t it be great if we could make the entire US Senate stand for election this November?

trigon on March 14, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Every single one of these freespending idiots should be voted out of office with extreme prejudice. The question is how to go about doing it. Can senators be recalled?

trigon on March 14, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Used to, state legislatures would recall senators.

Squid Shark on March 14, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Hutchison doesn’t surprise me. Could you people please stop referring to her as some kind of conservative now? Cornyn’s the only conservative Senator from Texas.

Mark V. on March 14, 2008 at 4:07 PM

Wouldn’t it be great if we could make the entire US Senate stand for election this November?

trigon on March 14, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Forgive me, but I think I have a better idea. Make them voting block stockholders. If a company loses money, the stockholders have to pony up the losses as applied for each share they own. For example, if you own a hundred thousand shares of stock, and that company loss is two dollars per share, you have to pay two hundred thousand dollars to the company. Make the congressmen personally responsible for the government operating in the red, and make them cough up the bucks that are required to put the government in the black, and I bet that fiscal responsibility will be the first, and only thought on their minds.

Snake307 on March 15, 2008 at 10:58 AM