According to The Hill, earmarks are down 40 percent this year — thanks mostly to a self-imposed ban by congressional Republicans:
Both parties enacted policies to reduce earmarks, but Taxpayers for Common Sense say much of the decline is due to the House Republicans’ one-year moratorium on earmarks. All but three of the 178 House GOP members have agreed to refrain from earmarking this year.
Republicans, including members of the Appropriations Committee that have earmarked in the past, said limiting earmarks bolsters their argument that spending should be cut to reduce the federal deficit, which is expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year.
Because they have agreed to the moratorium, the GOP can “answer the question in 10 seconds” and move on to talk about the big picture problem of the deficit, said Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.), a senior GOP appropriator. “It gives us a lot more credibility on fiscal restraint,” he said.