Washington, D.C. – "A lack of genuine commitment" is how U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., described Senate Democratic leadership’s rejection of an appropriation earmark sunshine rule proposed by Enzi and other members of the Republican Executive Steering Committee this week.
"It’s pretty simple really. If you want earmark reform and have the chance to pass it then you don’t reject that opportunity. That, however, is exactly what the Democratic leadership did today by coming up with one flimsy excuse after another," Enzi said. "The last time we brought up the proposal they said they didn’t have enough warning. So, we warned them more than a week in advance, but all they used this time for was to think up another explanation for how they can support earmark reform, but still reject enacting it."
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., offered a resolution for himself, Enzi and others that would require disclosure of information related to earmarks in committee-passed bills. The resolution would require them to be in a searchable format that is posted on the Internet. The information available would include the name of the senator requesting the earmark, the name and address of the recipient, the purpose and a certification the requesting senator and his or her spouse have no financial interest in the request. The Senate passed a similar proposal by a vote of 98-0 during debate on S. 1, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007. However, S. 1 has been held up because the House has not acted on its version of the ethics reform bill. Until that legislation is signed into law by President Bush, this essential earmark reform will not be part of the Senate rules. The Democrat majority rejected DeMint’s request, saying it didn’t want to pass parts of the ethics reform bill by themselves.
"The public’s patience is wearing very thin and inaction like this further strains it," Enzi said. "The leadership rejected this earmark reform proposal once again and that’s leading us in the wrong direction."
Enzi is disappointed by the roadblocks put up for the measure, but he believes that pressure will continue to mount to pass earmark reform and that eventually the resolution will be enacted in some form.