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Sen. Corker Joins Fight Against Earmarks

The coalition in the Senate to take a one year break from earmarking has gained the support of Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). The Hill reported yesterday that Senator Corker has withdrawn all of his earmark requests for this year.  Other Senators should follow the leadership of Senator Corker and conservatives should applaud him for pulling out of the “fundamentally flawed” earmarking process.

The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room reports

“I realize I am one junior senator in the minority, but given our country’s fiscal condition, I could not in good conscience keep my name next to any earmark requests this year,” Corker said in a statement. “It is not necessarily the overall cost of federal earmarks, which represents a very small portion of the overall budget, that poses a problem; it’s the process, which is fundamentally flawed and lacks oversight.”

The Hill reported that Corker had $330 million in requests.  Clearly, this number will not impact the estimated $12.8 trillionin debt our nation is passing on to future generations, but it is an important first step in showing a commitment to attacking Congressional overspending.  Corker joins Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the lonely fight against earmarking.

I wrote in Human Events a few weeks ago:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has stated repeatedly that there are three parties in Washington: the Republicans; the Democrats; and the Appropriators. In the Senate, the appropriators are winning. They killed an attempt by Sen. Jim Demint (R-S.C.) to ban earmarks for a year. At least 68 Senators supported earmarking, even as our nation carries a $12.6 trillion debt.

The House Republicans have taken a temporary earmark moratorium and House Democrats have sworn off earmarks for profit making enterprises.  Yet for some unknown reaon, Senate Republicans have not voted to take an earmark moratorium.  Clearly there is resistance from the Appropriations Party (a bipartisan effort) to block and slow walk reform. 

This week, the Senate has debated a multi-billion dollar temporary extension of unemployment benefits.  Thanks to the efforts and courageous leadership of Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Coburn, Congress has been forced to confront pay-as-you-go rules (PAYGO).  PAYGO forces Congress to make cuts before engaging in new spending.  Democrats have sought to waive PAYGO rules for the new bill that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, extends some other programs temporarily to the tune of tens of billions of your tax dollars.  Bunning and Coburn have objected to this new spending until Democrats find waste in other programs to use as spending reduction offsets.

Earmark reform and PAYGO have brought fiscal discipline into focus over the past few months.  Senators Corker, Bunning, Coburn and DeMint have lead the fight to rid the budget of earmarking and to force Congress to abide by PAYGO rules.  Conservatives should watch members to see which ones will stand up and lead in the fight to protect taxpayer dollars.

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