McCain and Coburn Band Together to Fight Earmarks
Republicans John McCain and Tom Coburn say they’re putting their colleagues on notice: They will challenge special projects that senators insert into spending bills until the practice stops.
McCain, of Arizona, and Coburn, of Oklahoma, say recent congressional scandals stem from lobbyists’ ability to persuade lawmakers to designate favored projects in big spending bills, sometimes in secret.
In a letter to fellow senators, McCain and Coburn said the practice — known as earmarking — gives lobbyists too much influence and is growing worse.
“The unsavory practice of inserting such provisions at the last minute stifles debate and empowers well-heeled lobbyists at the expense of those who cannot afford access to power,” they wrote.
They said they plan to challenge “future violations of Senate rules” and offer proposals that would make it harder to bury projects without vetting them in public first.
Coburn will offer one amendment for every earmark in an appropriations bill, meaning every earmark would have to be voted on, said Coburn spokesman John Hart. Coburn has also notified Senate leaders that he will try to hold up any spending bill that comes to the floor before members have had 72 hours to read it.
Cobun and McCain are challenging N.Z. Bear and Glenn Reynolds for the title of Dynamic Duo of porkbusting. I suspect the former will win since they actually get to vote on legislation.
Update: Bryan at AWS graphically portrays McCain and Coburn as “The Wonder Twins.”