GOP senators have begun sharpening their swords for an epic face-off over a proposed earmark ban, a measure that some members of Congress believe must be taken to prove their commitment to slashing spending.
However, just two of the eight senators who have already signed on to the anti-pork pledge can claim that they themselves haven't driven earmarks to their states. As James Rosen and Halimah Abdullah of McClatchy Newspapers report, that leaves six senators who are guilty of the spending practice they are attempting to outlaw. Only Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) haven't requested earmarks since 2008.
DeMint, a leader of the earmark eradication bloc, has spent the past week rallying a coalition of the willing, a group that currently totals eight incumbent senators and five who were recently elected.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stands at the other side of the battlefield, rounding up legislators who believe that the elimination of federal carve-outs is a superficial and purely symbolic crusade that would do more to damage states than it would to cut spending. Some have predicted that he already has about half of the 47-member GOP Senate delegation on board.
Even some of the most conservative members of the Senate's GOP ranks have come out against the ban. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Wednesday said that people who were for the ban had been "thoroughly brainwashed," and that the process "is what James Madison said we are supposed to be doing."
Take a look at the six senators who now want to ban earmarks, despite being a part of the supposed problem.
Slideshow data via Legistorm.