Eight Republican senators on Tuesday voted to preserve earmark spending despite pressure from the Tea Party movement.
Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), James Inhofe (Okla.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Richard Shelby (Ala.) voted against an amendment to food-safety legislation that would have enacted a two-year ban on the spending items. Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio) and defeated Sen. Bob Bennett (Utah) also voted against it.
Senate Republicans had already passed a voluntary earmark ban, but Tuesday's vote shows that the conference is still divided over the issue. The overall Senate proposal failed 39-56.