The Old Boys Club Is Getting Annoyed With Jim DeMint
Conservative Leader Stands Firm on Earmark Reform
By Bluey Posted in Congress | Featured Stories — Comments (9) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
No good deed goes unpunished in the U.S. Senate. That's the lesson Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) is learning for taking principled stands for fiscal restraint and against amnesty. Roll Call ($) has a lengthy article today detailing the growing frustration of Senate Republican leaders with DeMint.
DeMint led a small group of Republican conservatives who successfully killed immigration reform in June and has openly dueled with Democratic leaders over earmark reform, calling them out for refusing to adopt Senate-specific earmark rule changes before going to conference on a broader ethics bill that includes them.
That willingness to sidestep his leadership on immigration last month, and his ongoing fight with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over earmarks reforms, has begun to irritate Republican Senate elders, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Minority Whip Trent Lott (Miss.).
According to several Republicans, party leaders have made it clear to DeMint that while they may give him some running room over the next few appropriations-laden weeks, they will not tolerate what they see as repeated efforts to hijack the Senate floor and the public spotlight.
It's that latest battle with Reid over earmark reform that seems to be testing the patience of some Republicans. Even though the ethics bill in question passed 98-0 earlier this year, Reid wants to dilute the earmark rule as it pertains to the Senate. DeMint doesn't want to let him get away with it and has threatened to hold up the bill through the August recess if necessary. The fact that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) supports the earmark language and Reid voted for it isn't exactly helping their cause.
Still, DeMint seems to have annoyed some members of the Old Boys Club, who have no qualms about spending taxpayer money on earmarks, and are therefore reluctant to reform the earmarking process. Fortunately for conservatives, DeMint isn't about to give up. "This isn't a job I wanted, but I'm good at it," he told Roll Call, adding, "I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing."