POLITICO: Senate Dems – Including Hawaii’s Inouye- Debate Earmark Ban

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Sen. Daniel Inouye

By SCOTT WONG One day after Republicans challenged them to reject earmarks, Senate Democrats huddled behind closed doors Wednesday and held a “long discussion” on the practice as part of a larger debate over how to balance the federal budget and erase mounting debt.

“There was a long discussion,” said retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), adding that the caucus agreed not to speak publicly about any details since no agreement had been reached.

“Strong words were expressed on both sides and so I think, at some point, we’re going to have a consensus statement,” he added.

But Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the longest-serving senator and a prolific earmarker, downplayed the discussion.

“We had some people discussing it I don’t want to go beyond that,” he said.

How long was that discussion? “A few minutes,” Inouye replied.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45306.html#ixzz15eyO83RY

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