In an abrupt reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday endorsed a moratorium on earmarks that GOP conservatives are seeking to send a signal that the Republican Party is serious about curbing federal spending.
The Kentucky lawmaker announced his concession on the Senate floor, moments after the start of a lame-duck session of Congress that could stretch into mid-December. McConnell's announcement served as recognition that his bid to retain the practice of steering money to pet projects was losing steam to an emboldened coalition of tea party-backed senators, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
"Make no mistake, I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don't apologize for them," McConnell said. "But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we're willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government."
This is a pretty significant turn around because the House can't pass the ban all by themselves. However, the Democrats are still dominate both sides of Congress until the end of the year. So, this might be a no-go until the beginning of the 112nd Congress.
Also, There are much bigger fish to fry during this session, that'll only last a couple of weeks, like extending the Bush cuts and passing a budget. I don't think that this will pass during the lame duck, but it will probably be one of the first things, if not number one, on the agenda for Congress in 2011.