Tim Chapman wrote in Townhall When Oklahomans elected Dr. Tom Coburn to the United States Senate they knew that they were sending a man to Washington who would not dance the D.C. two-step. But Beltway types have underestimated the determination of this man not to go along to get along. Very soon, that will change. According to Senate aides, Dr. Coburn has notified his colleagues that he intends to challenge every earmark—or pork project—on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Coburn, who has been a champion in the fight against wasteful federal spending, believes that the congressional earmarking process is the genesis of the current Abramoff-related lobbying scandals.
Fantastic. I would be happy if any Senator was doing this, but I am particularly happy it is an Oklahoma senator, since I now live in Oklahoma.Coburn’s threat will dramatically slow the appropriations process because he will demand many more votes and more debate than normal on all spending bills. The added debate will allow senators to learn the merits (or lack thereof) of each earmark and affirm or reject.
Wonderful.According to one GOP Senate aide, many of the old-bull appropriators are not taking the threat seriously and are confident in their ability to apply pressure tactics and parliamentary maneuvers in order to ensure business as usual on spending bills. But that aide points out Coburn’s commitment, “It will take a lot of votes on one or two appropriations bills before the appropriators figure out that [Coburn] means business.”
Betsy blogged If his efforts gain traction, it could be a fun sight to watch the pretzels that Senators will twist themselves into when they have to explain why their appropriations for some special museum or project for their district needs to be funded by the federal government.