Senate Republicans threw down the earmark gauntlet Tuesday by adopting a resolution calling on Democrats to adopt a voluntary ban moments after they adopted an identical ban of their own.
The challenge, authored by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), calls for Democrats to swear off requests for “a congressionally directed spending item, limited tax benefit or limited tariff benefit” during the 112th Congress.
Adopted by voice vote by the Republican Conference, the challenge came shortly after GOP Senators agreed to an identical ban proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.). Although Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) objected to the ban — and expressed his strong opposition to it during the GOP’s closed-door meeting — he did not block a voice vote on the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly dismissed demands for a moratorium on earmarks over the last several days.
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.