"Senator Train Wreck"

Senator Tom Coburn is kickin' pork and takin' names:

According to Senate aides, Dr. Coburn has notified his colleagues that he intends to challenge every earmark—or pork project—on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Coburn, who has been a champion in the fight against wasteful federal spending, believes that the congressional earmarking process is the genesis of the current Abramoff-related lobbying scandals.

Coburn’s threat will dramatically slow the appropriations process because he will demand many more votes and more debate than normal on all spending bills. The added debate will allow senators to learn the merits (or lack thereof) of each earmark and affirm or reject.

According to one GOP Senate aide, many of the old-bull appropriators are not taking the threat seriously and are confident in their ability to apply pressure tactics and parliamentary maneuvers in order to ensure business as usual on spending bills. But that aide points out Coburn’s commitment, “It will take a lot of votes on one or two appropriations bills before the appropriators figure out that [Coburn] means business.”

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Happy Super Tuesday!