Republicans Challenge Democrats on Earmarks

Adopt other resolutions to balance budget, control spending

Posted on November 16, 2010

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans today approved a McConnell resolution challenging Senate Democrats to enact a two-year earmark moratorium after the Republican Conference approved an earmark moratorium for the 112th Congress.  The Conference-approved moratorium was offered by Sens. Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and 12 other senators and is identical to that approved by House Republicans.    

In addition to the earmark ban, Senate Republicans adopted resolutions to control federal debt and spending. These resolutions include:

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander’s resolutions place a moratorium on creating new unfunded mandates and new entitlement programs.

The first resolution states the Conference’s opposition to imposing new unfunded federal mandates – like the Democrats’ health care law – on state and local governments, and the second states the Conference’s opposition to creating new entitlement programs – which currently make up 56 percent of the total budget. 

  • Sen. John Cornyn’s resolution states that a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution is necessary to restore fiscal discipline.

The resolution states that a balanced budget amendment should require the president to submit to Congress prior to each fiscal year a proposed budget in which total federal spending does not exceed total federal revenue; that a balanced budget amendment should include a requirement that a supermajority of both houses of Congress be necessary to increase taxes; that a balanced budget amendment should include a limitation on total federal spending.

  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s resolution states that unspent stimulus funds should be canceled.

The resolution would cancel the more than $12 billion of unspent stimulus funds and avoid saddling taxpayers with more debt. 

  • Sen. Jon Kyl’s resolution states that there should be a net federal hiring freeze on non-security employees.

Between 2008 and 2010, federal government civilian employment grew 20 percent, from 1.2 million civilian workers to 1.43 million. Shrinking the size of government through attrition is both fair and smart.

  • Sen. John Thune’s resolution states that non-security discretionary spending should be reduced to inflation-adjusted FY 2008 levels.

The resolution would save approximately $450 billion over ten years, and such a reduction should be enforced through discretionary spending caps.

Under Conference rules, such resolutions are an expression of Conference policy but not binding on individual Senators.