The first spending bill to begin moving through Congress since House Republicans pledged to forgo earmarks shows the vow is working: The bill contains nearly 50 percent less in pork-barrel spending than last year's version.
The 2011 homeland security spending bill, which was approved by a House subcommittee last week, includes just one Republican earmark. And just as telling, House Democrats' earmarks dropped dramatically, with the dollar amount down nearly 20 percent from last year's bill.
"Essentially, the vacuum that was created by virtually no Republican earmarks wasn't backfilled by more Democratic earmarks, and in fact, Democrats actually took less than they did last year," said Steve Ellis, vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group. "There is a fear of overstepping the earmarking bounds, and also a commitment to at least further whittling away at earmark levels"...