Yesterday was a rare day in Washington: 100 Senators were present and voting on amendments to the budget resolution. And late last night, Senator Jim DeMint's proposal for a one-year moratorium on earmarks died a brutal death at the hands of an angry mob of senators. The vote was 71 to 29 against the amendment. Only six Democrats voted in favor of it—to the shame of their party--and two of them happen to be running for president.
One of those, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, hopes to use his newfound transparency on earmarks as a cudgel against rival Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, Obama released the list of all the earmarks he's proposed in three years: $740 million in all, including $1 million for his wife's hospital, of which Congress has approved $220 million. (The hospital project was among those killed.) Since $220 million is far less than what Clinton managed to arrange in 2008 alone ($342 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense), it's not surprising that Obama has called on Clinton to release her requests. Nor is it surprising that she's refused so far. Her spokesman told the New York Times that his boss is "proud of the 'investments' in New York that she has secured" (single quotes signaling irony added).
While the House has yet to act, last night's vote means, of course, that the Senate's checkbook is still open, if yours is. Perhaps you have the perfect project to enhance your Senator's district, only he doesn't know it yet—if so, you might start here.