Excerpt from Nov 29 Senate Floor Speech by Sen. Inouye against ban on Earmarks:
None of us should be surprised that President Obama has expressed his opposition to earmarks. A ban on earmarks would serve to strengthen the executive branch of government by empowering the President to make decisions that the Constitution wisely places in the hands of Congress. This is the exact same reason presidents Clinton and Bush sought the line-item veto during their presidencies.
As I have said many times before, the people of Hawaii did not elect me to serve as a rubber stamp for any administration. Handing over the power of the purse to the Executive Branch would turn the Constitution on its head.
So I must admit I find it puzzling that some Republicans would want to grant all authority over spending to any President, but especially to a Democratic president. And, make no mistake that is exactly what this amendment would do….
Most of the rest of Inouye’s speech documented the small portion of federal spending which is caused by earmarks. This is true, but it is not what is important. The important issue is that Inouye and other high-seniority politicians use earmarks to buy off the elite in their home states and exert unwarranted control over the political system. This is why earmarks must be stopped and this is why Inouye is fighting to keep them.
FULL TEXT: Statement of Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) Against the Coburn Earmark Amendment to Food Safety Bill November 29, 2010 (as prepared for delivery)
Chicago Sun-Times: Earmarks survive in Senate -- but for how long?
WASHINGTON -- By a sizable -- but dwindling -- margin, the Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of allowing lawmakers to keep stocking bills with home-state projects like roads, grants to local police departments and clean-water projects.
But with the House set to tumble into GOP hands and anti-earmark reinforcements coming to the Senate in January, the window seems to be closing on the practice.