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Marco Rubio and the Republicans look to stamp out earmarks

The newly-elected senator voted along with "virtually" the entire Republican conference tonight to impose a moratorium on earmarks. The measure is voluntary -- and it only effects Senate Republicans -- though now the clamor is for Senate Democrats to get on board.

Rubio voted for the measure, despite a conversation Monday with Sen. Bill Nelson, who noted that projects like dredging the port of Miami may rely on earmarks.

"It's quite positive to get up here and the first thing you get to do is actually say your conference has taken a position on issues that we ran on," Rubio said.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who has championed a ban on earmark for years, said it wouldn't have happened without support from the new senators: "It was indispensable, it wouldn't have happened without the new members."

And he dismissed criticism that the ban is merely symbolic because lobbyists and other lawmakers will find a way around it:  "The fact that we passed it suggests we are listening to the voters...We're ready to first of all cut our own spending.."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he's not inclined to join the ban, noting that he doesn't want to leave spending decisions up to the White House.


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