DeMint to Force Conference Vote on Earmarks

Posted November 8, 2010 at 1:19pm

Updated: 3:21 p.m.

Tea party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint will try to force his Republican colleagues to adopt an across-the-board earmark ban during a closed-door meeting next week, GOP aides said.

The South Carolina Republican is expected to formally announce his plans for the ban in a letter to Senators on Tuesday. DeMint plans to offer a Conference resolution next week that would block all earmarks, including traditional spending earmarks, tax breaks for specific industries or individuals, and tariff benefits aimed at a specific industry or individual. The ban would apply only to Republicans.

But because intraparty rules prohibit the Conference from forcing members to vote a certain way, the ban may not be put to practice; members would be free to continue earmarking funds for specific projects if they wanted to do so.

It remains to be seen how much support DeMint’s resolution will have.

DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton said the vote is designed to show that Republicans are united against wasteful spending.

“Sen. DeMint is working with several of his colleagues to unite Senate Republicans with House Republicans by banning earmarks. Americans rejected business as usual this election and the conference vote next week will show them Republicans got the message,” Denton said.