Will Senate Republicans agree not to request earmarks over the next two years? If they voted today, Sen. Jim DeMint thinks they would.
DeMint is pushing an internal earmarks ban among GOP senators, and he said today that, at present, he probably has enough support to pass it.
"I think we've probably got the edge by a vote or two," DeMint said during a conference call with reporters.
Senate Republicans are expected to vote this week on the internal earmarks moratorium. DeMint fears that, if the vote is held by secret ballot, that could weaken the chances of his resolution. The senator expects to be supported by newly elected senators, as a handful of fiscal hawks will enter the GOP's ranks in January.
Such an agreement would prevent Republicans, but not Democrats, from requesting earmarks in spending bills. DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn promised today to bring up a Senate-wide earmarks ban as an amendment to food-safety legislation. The senators worry that DeMint's resolution will be watered down.
Even if Senate Republicans agree on an internal earmarks ban, it could be possible for GOP senators to request earmarks anyway. While House Republicans have agreed on an internal earmarks ban before, that didn't stop Republican Rep. Don Young (AK), for instance, from securing federal pork for Alaska.