A bipartisan effort to permanently ban earmarks has split Republicans, putting a large group of them at odds with GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.
The Senate legislation, which could be voted on soon, presents an awkward position for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
Some prominent Republicans think the earmark moratorium should be lifted. They argue that it would help promote bipartisanship in the Senate by giving lawmakers more incentive to support various bills.
“We had earmarks to help lubricate the process and I hope someday we’ll find a way to come back to that,” said former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) during an event sponsored earlier this month by the Bipartisan Policy Center.