Cochran, Wicker differ on earmarks vote

Mississippi’s senators – two of the leading earmarkers in Congress in recent years – split their votes when an attempt in the Senate to temporarily ban the practice fell short Tuesday.
On the motion to suspend the rules for a vote on an earmark moratorium, Sen. Thad Cochran voted against the suspension to allow a direct vote on the earmark ban; Sen. Roger Wicker voted for the rules suspension. The motion needed a two-thirds vote to pass and only 39 of the required 67 senators supported it.
Cochran earlier had expressed reservations in agreeing to stop earmarks on a vote within the Republican Conference, while Wicker had unequivocally supported putting a temporary halt to the practice. Both have been among the most effective members of Congress in directing funds to projects in their home state.
“It is worth pointing out that the scope of the Coburn amendment (for an earmark moratorium) was broader than the Republican Conference resolution, in that it applies to FY2011, and that enshrining something in the Senate rules is a very different question from adopting a conference resolution,” Cochran spokesman Chris Gallegos said by way of explanation.
“Sen. Cochran takes very seriously the views of the Republican Conference and the need to restrain federal spending. But he is not comfortable conceding Congress’ right to advocate specific priorities without having seen the president’s budget requests for coming fiscal years.”

NEMS Daily Journal