Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) “said Thursday that the Senate could be forced to give up earmarks if Republicans stand by their new opposition to these spending line items,” POLITICO reports.
The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat told reporters that there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate right now for spending bills that include earmarks – given the increased ranks of the 47-member Senate GOP, which killed an earmark-filled omnibus spending bill last month and vowed to swear off the pet initiatives over the next two years.
“I don’t believe there will be 60 votes for earmarks absent some dramatic change of heart from the Republicans,” said Durbin, an appropriator and influential member of the Democratic leadership.
“I think we’re realistic about it,” Durbin said. “We realize that whatever appropriations bills we enact will have to be enacted by the House as well. We’re going to have to govern ourselves accordingly. … But I would say that what happened with the omnibus was an indication that in the Senate at this moment, there are not 60 votes for earmarks.”