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Why All This Talk About Earmark Reform?

For those of you who were curious why House Republicans continue to push an anti-earmark message again and again and again...and again, we have some polling to suggest the answer.

Seventy-eight percent of the 1,000 registered voters polled "believe Congress should require all taxpayer-funded earmarks to be publicly disclosed and debated before they become law, even if it would cause some significant delays in passing important bills," according to a poll conducted at the end of September by The Winston Group.

Republicans have repeatedly tried to hammer this point home in recent weeks, calling on majority Democrats to enact more sweeping changes to the disclosure rules for member-requested projects in tax and authorization bills. But their calls have gotten lost on Capitol Hill amid the fights over a state-run children's health care program and funding for the war in Iraq.

The earmark debate is just one component of a broader drive to regain the party's brand for fiscal responsibility that lawmakers squandered during their years in power.