Bipartisan Earmark Reform Offered:
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Trent Lott (R-MS) offered their proposal to reform the process of earmarking in appropriations bills, according to Roll Call. The reform would allow Senators to challenge individual items in a conference report and require that 60 votes be required for the item to survive. The reform would also shine much needed “sunlight” onto the process by requiring that the conference report list the lawmaker that has proposed each earmark along with a justification for the item and by requiring that all conference reports be available 24 hours in advance on the Internet so that members may study and read them. The Washington Post and the New York Times both devoted space to earmarks today, the Post giving a primer on the process and the Times talking about the strains that earmarks place on the Energy Department.