Last week, we discusssed the Gregg Amendment, a measure that would have allowed the president to send earmarks back to Congress for reconsideration. By highlighting questionable spending bills that Congress sneaks through, the president would force Congress to take a serious look at these provisions under some public scrutiny.
Senator Gregg originally proposed this idea as an amendment to ethics reform. The Democrats blocked that and the Republicans agreed to re-propose it later. Gregg did so this week, but the Dems (led by ultimate porker Robert Byrd) filibustered. Today, they succeeded in preventing the Gregg Amendment from receiving a yes-or-no vote.
Minority Leader McConnell notes that twenty Democrats currently in the Senate supported a similar measure when it was proposed in 1995, yet today the party would not even allow a vote. The Senate Dems’ unwillingness to do so, along with their initial unwillingness to take up Nancy Pelosi’s earmark reform bill, demonstrates that they prefer business as usual to spending reform, and even serious consideration of such reform.
UPDATE: I’m told that the list of Democrats who, in 1995, spoke up for the proposal the Dems killed today includes Senators Feinstein, Feingold, Biden, Dodd, Levin, Dorgan, and Robert Byrd himself.
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