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Senate earmark ban goes down to defeat


A vote today in the Senate to ban earmarks for two years failed to secure the 67 votes needed to advance. The vote was 39 yes, 56 no. (A super-duper majority of 67 votes was needed due to the way the measure was filed under Senate rules.)

The measure was offered by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill and Mark Udall.

Only seven Democrats voted for the ban. They were McCaskill, Udall, Evan Bayh, Michael Bennet, Russ Feingold, Bill Nelson, and Mark Warner. (Bayh is retiring this year, and Feingold lost his re-election bid.)

Earlier this month, Senate Republicans voted -- amongst themselves -- to ban earmarks in a nonbinding resolution. But eight of them voted against banning earmarks. They were Robert Bennett, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Jim Inhofe, Dick Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Richard Shelby, and George Voinovich.

Of those Republicans, six of the eight (Bennett, Cochran, Collins, Murkowski, Shelby, and Voinvoich) sit on the Appropriations Committee, which doles out the federal dollars. (Bennett lost in Utah's GOP primary; Voinovich is retiring.)

Who didn't vote? Republicans Kit Bond and Sam Brownback, who are both retiring this year. Oddly, Democrats Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, and Jeanne Shaheen didn't vote on earmarks, but did vote on another measure minutes later.