The Senate has defeated a proposed one-year moratorium on congressional earmarks, although the top presidential candidates supported the plan. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an earmark-moratorium amendment to the fiscal year 2009 budget resolution, but it lost on a 71-29 procedural vote on March 13. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), and presumed GOP nominee John McCain (Ariz.) voted for DeMint’s proposal.

The Senate did add an amendment from Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) to double the budget bill’s $3.5-billion allotment for infrastructure projects in a new economic stimulus measure, if one emerges. The budget measure, passed 51-44, is not binding but does reflect spending desires of the Democratic majority.