After adopting a ban on earmarks in the Senate GOP conference, Republicans in the Senate are now pushing their colleagues in the other party to embrace a three-year moratorium as well. Democrats up for reelection in 2012 will feel the most pressure to sign on to the ban as earmarks have become a popular, populist symbol of government corruption.
So far the reaction is mixed, according to a report in The Hill Wednesday. Senators are taking a look, and at 67 votes for passage the ban appears to have a steep climb. For freshmen like Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsBill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances Grassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel Democratic senator: Attacks on Saudi oil refineries 'may call for military action against Iran' MORE (D-Del.), the prospect of not bringing home the bacon is particularly challenging. "I haven't come to a final position on it, but in the campaign what I said was that as long as other states' members are fighting for and getting money for infrastructure needs, then I will support a transparent, fair, congressionally-directed earmark process," Coons told The Hill.


Several GOP veterans have come out against the ban, including Sens. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBiden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe Trump praises Thad Cochran: 'A real senator with incredible values' MORE (R-Miss.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeHouse rejects GOP motion on replacing Pentagon funding used on border wall Republicans wary of US action on Iran Is the Senate ready to protect American interests in space? MORE (R-Okla.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) who argue that allowing the administration to direct all federal spending is an abdication of the legislative branch's power of the purse.
Just days after Republicans passed their own ban, which resulted from a push by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and new Tea Party-backed freshman senators, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) scored a $200 million settlement for an Arizona tribe's water-rights claim against the federal government, according to The Huffington Post. Kyl's office stated the provision is not an earmark, while Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats press for action on election security The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine MORE (D-Vt.) came to the floor to declare: "I do know an earmark when I see it. And this, my friends, is an earmark."
According to the report in The Hill, earmarks accounted for $15.9 billion in spending in 2010, but the co-chairman of President Obama's debt commission have estimated that tax legislation contains $1.1 trillion in earmarks.
Ban or no ban, earmarking will remain in the eye of the beholder. And in order to reduce our deficits, more cuts of consequence must be agreed upon.

HOW MANY GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WILL AGREE TO DEMINT'S PROPOSAL TO BAN ETHANOL SUBSIDIES? AskAB returns next week. Please send your questions and comments to Thank you.