Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will join with the fiscal hawks of his party and support a ban on earmarks, he said on the Senate floor today.
Senate Republicans are expected to vote this week on an agreement, being pushed by Sen. Jim DeMint, not to request earmarks during the next Congress. (This is just a GOP agreement; it does not apply to Democrats.)
"I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress," McConnell said on the floor.
From his remarks:
I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks. I've talked with my members. I've listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents. And what I've concluded is that on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example. Nearly every day that the Senate's been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won't be guilty of the same thing.
Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don't apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we're willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.
That's why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.