Republicans For Pork?

by Andrew Stiles

Though it may contain billions worth of earmarks they requested, most Senate Republicans are outraged at the 2,000-page omnibus spending package. However, if even a few GOP Senators vote ‘yes,’ the bill would have a good chance of passing.

The prime culprits are the Republican members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (whence the pork abomination came). They are the ones most likely to be targeted, and potentially swayed, by Senate Democrats to support the bill. GOP aides are worried about these members, but are optimistic they have the votes to block the bill.

Retiring Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah) has already announced his intention to support the omnibus, while three others – Sens. Kit Bond (R., Mo.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), and George Voinovich (R., Ohio), who is also retiring – have said they would consider voting yes, but are currently reviewing the massive bill.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) is also “still reviewing” the package. Sen. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) has not announced his position yet, but requested more than $560,000,000* worth of earmarks in the bill, so go figure.

Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Texas) plan to vote against the package. Sens. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), Sam Brownback (R., Kan.) and Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) are likely no’s, but their offices did not return a request for comment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told reporters earlier today that the omnibus represents a “consequential vote” for Republicans, and said he hoped Republicans could find the votes to defeat it. “Second acts are hard to get in life…particularly in politics,” Graham said. “We got a second lease on life… not because of anything we did, because of [the Democrats’] screw-ups, and if the first thing we do is quietly let this go through, then our second act is over before it begins.”

*Editor’s Note: This figure is an NRO calculation based on data made available by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.)

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