Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to abandon their use of earmarks in the new Congress, a move setting up an unusual alliance with the White House and exerting pressure on reluctant Democratic lawmakers to follow suit.ugg australia on sale The vote by Senate Republican represented an internal party decision. But along with a similar step expected today by counterparts in the House, it provided an early example of the influence of the tea party and the rising conservative movement that fueled the mid-term electoral wave. Just eight months ago, a similar proposal to do away with earmarks was shot down in an overwhelming vote of the Senate that included substantial Republican opposition. Supporters of the earmark ban now will push for a full Senate floor vote and a promise from President Obama to veto any spending bill containing earmarks. "It's a great first step," said incoming Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. "We said we wanted to come up here and be an alternative to the direction that the president and the Democratic leadership were taking our country, and this is the first step towards putting our money literally where our mouth is." Earmarks represent spending targeted at particular projects sought by lawmakers and are popular for their political appeal. But they also have become a symbol of excessive spending and government waste. The earmark ban emerged as one of the top orders of business for Republicans in Congress as lawmakers returned to Washington this week following the mid-term election in which the GOP took control of the House and expanded its numbers in the Senate. Even though the new lawmakers do not take office until January, Republicans are under pressure to show conservative voters they understood the anti-spending message they believe came from the election. The internal party vote came hours after senators from both parties elected their leadership teams for the new Congress, essentially reinstating veteran lawmakers who have led the Senate for the past several years. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was elected Republican leader and Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona the Republican whip. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was elected as the majority leader and Richard Durbin of Illinois the majority whip. Reid also gave Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York an enhanced role in the No. 3 position, and created a new spot on the leadership team for first-term Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska. In a nod to tea party priorities, Republican senators approved several other policy positions in a private meeting that include rolling back federal spending to 2008 levels, supporting a balanced budget amendment, imposing a hiring freeze on non-security federal employees, halting unspent stimulus funds, and banning new entitlement programs and federal mandates.ugg style boots Like the vote to impose a two-year ban on earmarks, the other votes carry no binding authority but set the party's direction for the new Congress. It was McConnell's sudden reversal in support of the earmark ban that ensured Republicans en masse would agree to the change – even as several GOP senators disagreed with ending the practice as a lame duck session of Congress convened. "If we're going to listen to the American people, we had to show them with this vote," said Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who led the drive with the support of several incoming senators whose campaigns he had supported. At least one Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, voted against the ban. Inhofe has been appearing on radio programs in a campaign to defend the use of earmarks. Still, the transformation of DeMint's renegade anti-earmark campaign into a top-ranked Republican priority represented a coup for the conservative senator, whose hardball tactics often alienate his GOP peers. "We've got the momentum on the issue and I think we need to force the Democrats to make the same hard decisions now," DeMint. Republicans challenged Democrats, approving a resolution by McConnell calling on them to join the ban. Democrats now face a difficult decision on how to proceed. Their leaders show no inclination for doing away with earmarked expenditures, even as Obama has expressed his desire to limit the practice and newer Democratic senators have sided with Republicans to eschew the tradition. Reid, an unabashed earmarker, said Tuesday: "I am not going, personally, going to back off of bringing stuff back to Nevada." Many Democratic lawmakers maintain it is their constitutional responsibility to make spending decisions, rather than cede that power to the budget coming from the White House. But several Democratic senators support the GOP ban, including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is pressing for a full Senate floor vote, possibly later this week, "finally ending the flawed practice of earmarks." Obama has supported efforts to limit earmarks and welcomed the GOP ban, but it is unclear if the White House is willing to take the next step of vetoing bills sent to the president that contain earmarks. Such a showdown could complicate the already difficult process of passing annual spending bills in Congress and may begin to play in coming weeks as lawmakers must pass legislation to fund the government into next year. "We'll see how it rolls," Begich, who will continue to request earmarks. "We know, to be very frank, more than most of these agencies do — and the president — in regards to what's important to our districts."cheap boots shopping