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Without Earmark 'Grease,' Some Say, Spending Bills Get Stuck

For all their notoriety as wasteful "pork barrel" projects, earmarks did have one obvious benefit: They helped congressional leaders pass spending bills. A multibillion-dollar appropriations package was much easier to sell to members if they could brag about something for their home states. In recent years, with earmarks banned, spending bills have largely been replaced with "continuing resolutions," which simply keep spending levels for existing programs going for a few more weeks or months.