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Earmarking Ban Gains Support From Local Republicans

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The region's Republicans are supporting a ban on earmarking in Congress, which analysts say weakens their role in directing the federal budget.

The GOP now dominates the Virginia congressional delegation, holding eight of the state's 11 House seats. Those Republicans are supporting a temporary ban on lawmakers directing money to individual projects in the state, called earmarking. The 4th District's Randy Forbes says the moratorium is good policy even if it enhances bureaucrats power over the state's projects.

"Well it may in fact cede some power to the White House, but I think overall if it helps us gets our fiscal house in order, it's gonna help Virginia and the rest of the country get back on a stable footing, and I think that's a bigger priority right now," Forbes says.

The ban doesn't reduce the federal budget. Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the region's Republicans gave up a tool that has historically been used to garner popularity at home. He says the earmark ban is just a symbol of restraint.

"To a large degree it's somewhat of a sideshow, because still, as much as they've grown, they're still about only 1 percent of the budget," Marr says.

Even without earmarks, Virginia Republicans say they hope to pass other policies they can hang their hats on at home, like tax cuts.

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