Let’s rack up a big win for bi-partisanship. The Senate has just voted to keep earmarks.
With eight Republicans voting to keep the procedure — which allows them to funnel money to favored projects outside the regular budget process — earmarks will stay in place. Banning earmarks has been among the rallying cries of tea partiers, who insist that ending the longtime practice is necessary to rein in government spending.
In fact, earmarks represent a tiny portion of federal spending. But, so far, the tea party activists haven’t been able to muster enough power to even rein in that small portion. They managed to browbeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and get him on their side. After initially resisting the ban on earmarks, McConnell — who showed great skill in bringing pork barrel projects home to Louisville — decided to get on board.
But eight Republicans did not. (Seven Democrats voted to ban earmarks.) From the NYT:
Under an agreement between the Democratic and