In a stunning reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky just announced his support for a moratorium on earmarks – something President Obama has pushed hard for. To be fair, Tea Party supporters had fallen in line with Obama on this issue, even to the point they co-opted it during the last campaign. But mainstream Republicans had previously balked at the idea. From the Associated Press:
McConnell, a 26-year veteran of the Senate and longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, had argued in the past that banning earmarks would shift too much power to President Barack Obama and wouldn’t save taxpayers any money.
“I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them,” he said. “But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight.”
Obama, who endorsed a crackdown on earmarks on Saturday, praised McConnell’s move.
“We can’t stop with earmarks as they represent only part of the problem,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to not only end earmark spending, but to find other ways to bring down our deficits for our children.”
So it seems the President and the American people might actually get what they want – for once. And that certainly would be change we can believe in…