Bill Nelson -- who two weeks ago defended the use of earmarking to Sen. elect Marco Rubio -- today was one of just 7 Democrats voting to temporarily ban the practice.
Republican Sen. George LeMieux also voted for the ban, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. The measure failed with 39 in favor, 56 opposed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and enthusiastic earmarker who had opposed a ban, also voted in favor Tuesday.
A spokesman for Nelson, noting "these are unusually tough economic times," said the measure failed, but that "going forward, Sen. Nelson will keep looking for ways to cut spending, while also fighting to make sure Florida gets its fair share of federal funding for things like ports, military bases and
major projects that bring new jobs."
Nelson in his first meeting with Rubio on Nov. 15 defended earmarking as a way to help the state, but acknowledged that "flim flam" projects should be banned. Figuring out which projects meet that definition is the tricky part, he said.