The Democratic leadership in the Senate as well as several “old-school” Senators likely rejoiced tonight when they successfully outmaneuvered a potential vote on Senator Demint’s (R-SC) amendment to place a moratorium on all earmarks for one year. Although the two Democratic candidates for President, Senator Obama (D-IL) and Senator Clinton (D-NY), supported this amendment, many leading Democrats as well as some Republicans did not.
Senate Democrats were able to sustain a point of order, which was backed up by the Senate Parliamentarian, which stated that this earmark amendment was not “germane” under budget rules. A motion to waive this germane requirement was soundly defeated by a vote of 29 (Y) to 71 (N). Had that vote been allowed to pass, a new precedent would have been set for future legislation which led the majority of Senators to oppose it. The point of order against the amendment meant that it had to be withdrawn.
So despite Senator DeMint’s efforts, it appears that members of the Senate avoided going officially on the record with their support of earmarks…at least for now.