According to news reports, the Republican Senators are split about making earmarks against party rules. The argument against the rule is that earmarks only amount to $17 billion - less than one half of one percent of the total budget and that cutting earmarks will not save any "real" money.
Are you guys out of your minds? Just four years ago the Democrats took over both houses of Congress partly because of voter disgust over earmarks and spending. You guys are only back because the Democrats failed to deliver. Just two weeks ago you pledged that you had learned your lesson and that you were a new, fiscally responsible party.
There are multiple problems with earmarks. The biggest one is that you already abused them and cannot be trusted with them. You set records for earmarks. Yes, the Democrats increased spending and failed to eliminate earmarks but they at least used them less.
Earmarks are the epitome of what disgusts voters about Congress. They are synonymous with political "bacon" and pork barrel spending. They are how you guys reward contributors and lobbyists.
Your arguments in favor are misleading. Yes, they are only a small part of the total budget but most of the budget is made up of entitlements. If we only look at the part that you actually control then earmarks grow to 2% of the budget. This is still a small amount but it is enough to make a difference. Heck, the argument over the Bush tax cuts is only over 5%.
Also, the words "only" and $17 billion should never leave anyone's lips.
Right now the Republicans are on probation. You say that you reformed but now you have to follow through. The Tea Party took you at your word but it does not trust you. If you go back to big-spending then you will see a third party in 2012. Keep in mind that, even after all of the dirt thrown about the Tea Party being radical and racists, a larger portion of the voting public has a good opinion of it than either the Democrats or the Republicans. If you want to stay in power then you are going to have to live up to your promises.