Per Susan Davis on NPR:

When earmarks were a regular feature of congressional business, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said Democrats and Republicans were able to cut more deals and pass more bills with bipartisan support.

This sounds like a bad idea at first, but it probably is actually a good one. Congress can’t pass meaningful legislation anymore, in part because there is almost no bipartisan agreement on important bills. Maybe allowing earmarks will make it easier to gain votes “across the aisle”—you know, like it used to.