Friday, July 1, 2011

Ayotte joins GOP freshman class in calling for earmark ban

November 10, 2010 by Amelia Chasse  
Filed under News & Politics

Just a few days after being named as a GOP rising star by the Daily Caller, New Hampshire Senator-Elect Kelly Ayotte made news again by putting her money – or in this case her signature – where her mouth is when it comes to earmarks.

Earmarks are a perennial issue on the campaign trail, and the NH senate race was no different, with Paul Hodes’ vowing to “get rid of the pork” in his famous hot dog ad. However, outrage about earmarks generally fades into the background when it comes time for the new Congress to convene and members need to “bring home the bacon.”

Ayotte’s statement called earmarks a “symbol of Washington’s pay-to-play culture.” The language she uses makes an important distinction, and preempts the typical argument offered by proponents of earmarks that they make up less than one percent of federal spending.

It looks like things may change in the 112th Congress, if the letter supporting a formal ban on earmarks signed by eleven Republican senators (including the incoming six) and sent to the GOP leadership this week is any indication. Signers were Senators DeMint, Coburn, Cornyn, Ensign, and Enzi, and Senators-Elect Toomey, Rubio, Paul, Lee, Johnson, and Ayotte.

Notably absent from the list is Sen. McCain, who campaigned for Ayotte and has been making noise about earmarks for years. One would have to assume that he would be supportive of the measure, and that, given the political climate, the rest of the Republicans would fall in line. With moderates like Sens. Lieberman and Nelson looking ahead to 2012 re-election battles, there is a good chance the GOP could drum up enough support across the aisle to get the measure passed.

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