The U.S. Senate voted today against a proposed ban on earmarks, one day after U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor to offer an extended defense of a practice that has financially benefited Hawaii for decades.
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.