Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye announced a two-year earmark moratorium:
I continue to support the Constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established.
However, the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The President has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.
Brian Baker, president of Taxpayers Against Earmarks, applauded Inouye's announcement:
We applaud Senator Inouye for standing with the President, the House of Representatives and the American people on the issue of earmarks. The ban in the Senate Appropriations Committee, coupled with the ban enacted earlier this year in the House of Representatives, effectively puts a stop to the harmful practice of earmarks for the next two years.
What a difference a year makes! In January 2009, fewer than 50 Members opposed earmarks, but one year and one election later – because the American people spoke loud and clear – both the House and Senate have now banned earmarks.
An earmark ban is only the first step to reigning in the massive federal debt, out-of-control federal spending and the broken budgeting process in Washington.
We will be watching to make sure that our elected officials don’t break their promises to the American people.