In a possible strategic move to regain the "ethical high ground," House Democratic leaders are floating the idea of a party-wide ban on earmarks for the remainder of the year. The idea was mentioned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but would most likely face resistance from those who use earmarks as a way to send placating pork back home in a tough year for incumbents. But scrapping them now might be a strategic coup, as gridlock in the Senate means House spending bills could get tied up there, and their earmarks could get cut anyway. The decision to proceed with this strategy would have to come soon as earmark requests are due to the Appropriations panel by March 19. Nearly 9,500 earmarks worth $15.9 billion have already been secured by both parties in this fiscal year alone.
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