Opponents of Earmarks Gain Ground in Congress
A proposal to ban spending earmarked for home-state projects for one year gained momentum in Congress on Tuesday as Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama joined Senator John McCain and other fiscal conservatives in support of the idea.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has for years denounced earmarks as wasteful and conducive to corruption. Critics of earmarks contend that some lawmakers secure them for constituents and lobbyists, and then demand campaign contributions in return.
Democrats contend that the use of earmarks exploded while Republicans controlled Congress, and they do not want Republicans now to get credit for curbing the practice. After taking control of Congress last year, Democrats substantially reduced the number of earmarks and adopted disclosure requirements.
The proposal for a one-year ban on earmarks is likely to come up in such a way that it will need 60 votes for approval [by the Senate].