McConnell Postpones Earmark Meeting

Posted June 25, 2008 at 10:40am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this morning abruptly canceled a much-anticipated Conference meeting to discuss implementation of his earmark reform plan in order to give Members of his reform task force more time to assuage the lingering concerns of GOP appropriators, Republican aides said.

McConnell “wanted to make sure we have everything locked down” before holding the meeting, one GOP aide said, adding that the meeting is now expected to take place shortly after lawmakers return from the July 4 recess.

Last week, McConnell announced to his Conference that he was moving forward with a set of earmark reform proposals put together by a special task force he empaneled last winter. He and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have been negotiating a bill to put many of those reforms in place. McConnell had hoped to begin the implementation process now to give lawmakers plenty of lead time to adjust to the new rules before next year’s appropriations process begins.

Although the task force included a mix of conservative anti-earmark lawmakers, members of authorizing committees and appropriators, aides said members of the Appropriations Committee were still uneasy with the reforms.