WASHINGTON – Can lawmakers bring home the bacon without it being pork? It's a question that's vexing Republicans as they consider whether to join a Democratic push to revive earmarks, the much-maligned practice where lawmakers direct federal spending to a specific project or institution back home.
Examples include a new bridge, community library or university research program. Earmarking was linked to corruption in the 2000s, leading to an outcry and their banishment in both the House and Senate.
But many in Congress say the ban has gone too far, ceding the “power of the purse” to party leaders and the executive branch and giving lawmakers less incentive to work with members of the other party on major legislation.