Senate Republicans recently followed their colleagues in the House, voting behind closed doors to approve a moratorium on all Congressional earmarks for two years. President Obama supports a ban on earmarks, but many Senate Democrats don't agree: So far, only two Democrats in the Senate have publicly come out in favor of the ban. Can the new Congress find any common ground on the issue? And how would an outright ban on earmarks affect small cities and towns?
Jay Newton-Small, Time Magazine's Congressional correspondent, joins us to look at the issue. So does Ed Pawlowski, mayor of Allentown, PA, who says earmarks have been getting a bad rap. He says they're actually good for communities and should be viewed as community-wide funds. The earmarks Allentown has recieved have mostly gone towards public safety, and without that money, he says, the only people he sees benefiting are criminals.