In a reversal, Senate GOP Leader endorses halt to district spending projects

The top Republican in the Senate has reversed course and endorsed a moratorium on pork-barrel projects known as "earmarks." Those are special funding requests lawmakers slip into legislation for home-state projects.

Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell says he's heeding the message voters sent in elections that swept Democrats from power in the House. He says he can't accuse Democrats of failing to ignore the wishes of the American people and then be guilty of the same thing.

McConnell's move gives tea party activists a win and heads off a battle with conservatives in his own party in the Senate. House GOP leaders had already endorsed a ban on the practice.

McConnell, a member of the Appropriations Committee, is a longtime defender of earmarking.