Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) withdrew all of his appropriations requests for fiscal 2011, saying the process for obtaining earmarks is “fundamentally flawed and lacks oversight.”
Corker made his request in a letter Wednesday to Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).
“I realize I am one junior senator in the minority, but given our country’s fiscal condition, I could not in good conscience keep my name next to any earmark requests this year,” Corker said in a statement, which did not list the total dollar amount being withdrawn. “It is not necessarily the overall cost of federal earmarks, which represents a very small portion of the overall budget, that poses a problem; it’s the process, which is fundamentally flawed and lacks oversight.”
Democratic and Republican leaders in the House have been dueling this year over which party will be toughest on earmarks, but on the other side of the Capitol, there has been relatively little appetite to address the issue. Corker is one of only a handful of rank-and-file Senators to show much enthusiasm for tightening up the practice.