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Senate Votes in Favor of Tougher Earmark Rules-DeMint Amendment Gets Unanimous Approval

January 16, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate just voted to pass some important amendments to its ethics bill, S.1.

Last week, Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin attempted to table an amendment that was offered by Jim DeMint to strengthen earmark reform in the bill. Earmarks are little provisions imbedded into bills that designate money for legislators’ pet projects. The bill as it was written by Senate Majority Leader Reid would have only required about 5% of earmarks to be disclosed. But DeMint and the majority of the Senate, include 9 Democrats, that voted to keep his amendment alive, wanted stronger disclosure rules. In an embarrassing incident for the Democratic leadership, Many Democratic Senators voted to keep DeMint’s approval alive.

Dick Durbin, who has been seen as Reid’s puppet in this whole thing, offered an amendment that he said will “strengthen” the DeMint amendment. The changes in the amendment are slight, and it seems to many to be just a way to keep the impression that Democrats are pro-earmark reform, and have the upper hand.

Durbin’s amendment just passed with an unanimous vote, directly followed by the passing of the DeMint amendment by unanimous vote.

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