Sen. Trent Lott (R.-Miss.) has included a measure to allow senators to call a point of order on any earmark slipped into conference committee and reject the provision with a simple majoritiy vote.
The point of order was effectively used for the first time by Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.) last month to block a corporate bailout with an asbestos bill that sought to build a government backed trust fund, without any medical criteria, for asbestos victims.
Other elements of Lott’s plan include: a ban on gifts from lobbyists, the Ethics Committee to clear all free travel, disclosure of free trips and meals on the senators’ websites, posting conference reports on the internet 24 hours before they are voted on, all earmarks being subject to a point of order and a lobbying ban against those earning more than $123,900 for
the first year they are off congressional payroll and a restriction against lobbying the senator or committee they used to work for.