Dave Weigel gets some good quotes from a press call that seem to further undermine Senator Inhofe’s claim that if Republicans won’t earmark, the White House will:
I asked Coburn to respond to his colleague, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has been arguing in public and in personal messages to Tea Partiers that an earmark ban would merely allow the White House to move around money on its own projects, not saving a dime.
“All that’s saying is ‘we don’t want to do the oversight,’” said Coburn. “The bureaucracy can’t spend money unless we allow it to. For every thousand earmarks, there’s one oversight hearing. There ought to be a thousand hearings for every earmark.” Is Inhofe wrong that the administration would have a free hand to move around money if earmarking stops? “The only reason they do it now is that we allow it,” Coburn said. “They know Congress is lazy and it’s not going to do the hard work of oversighting.”
DeMint concurred with Coburn. “It’s a real myth that if we don’t waste it, the administration will,” he said. “We can make sure that appropriations bills are set up in such a way that they can’t do that.”