Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he would block efforts to force a vote on a mandatory ban on earmarks through fiscal 2013, saying the Senate simply does not have enough time to consider the measure.
Following the Democrats’ luncheon, Reid rejected a plan by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to try to attach the ban to a food safety bill.
“The legislation that we’re dealing with, we, as you know, with the limited time we have, if I’m able to get cloture on any of the issues that I bring up, it’s not going to be open amendment process, because we simply don’t have time for that,” Reid said.
The Democratic leader did, however, pledge to find some time in the unspecified future to deal with the problem of earmarks.
“I would be happy ... to set up a reasonable time to have a debate on that and have a vote on it,” Reid said.
John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, criticized Reid’s decision.
“It’s disappointing Sen. Reid wants to obstruct a bipartisan effort to enact an earmark moratorium,” he said Tuesday. “The American people, by a 2-to-1 margin, want to end this practice. Refusing to listen to those concerns is anti-democratic.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.