The Senate on Tuesday easily killed a move by conservative Republicans to temporarily ban senators from earmarking spending bills with back-home projects like roads, water projects and grants to local governments.
Fifteen Republicans joined with most Democrats in rejecting the moratorium on earmarks by a 68-29 vote.
It's a far different story in the House, where Republicans imposed an earmark ban on party members last week in a bid to demonstrate they are the party of reform in Washington. Democrats controlling the House also declared that earmarks can no longer go to for-profit companies whose executives and hired lobbyists too often return the favor with campaign contributions.
Fights over earmarks are routine and usually intensify in campaign years as lawmakers seek the political high ground with voters unhappy with out of control spending and the ways of Washington.
Still, since Democrats took over Congress, significant reforms have been put in place to reduce the number and cost of earmarks and make the process more open to the public.