McCain and Coburn Band Together to Fight Earmarks

John McCain and Tom Coburn have pledged to challenge every single instance of earmarking.

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.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Gee, I wonder if Ted Stevens is going to throw another tantrum over this…

  2. Its like a comic book: Senate Team-Up!!

  3. McGehee says:

    Gee, I wonder if Ted Stevens is going to throw another tantrum over this…

    Which made me think something that, if I were still Catholic, would have me saying Hail Marys and Oyur Fathers until the cows come home.

    I don’t like Ted Stevens, as some may already know.

  4. bryan says:

    Wonder twin powers, ACTIVATE!

  5. Kathy K says:

    “I suspect the former will win since they actually get to vote on legislation.”

    And I suspect the latter will be cheering them on… (along with maybe trying to take credit for the whole idea – but who cares if something gets done).

  6. DL says:

    I think, since the pols are always in campaign mode, we should have an election every year forcing them to deal with real problems instead of baseball use of steroids etc.