Most Democrats and a handful of Republicans combined to defeat the effort, which would have effectively forbidden the Senate from considering legislation containing earmarks like road and bridge projects, community development funding, grants to local police departments and special-interest tax breaks.

The 39-65 tally, however, was a better showing for earmark opponents, who lost a 29-71 vote earlier this year. Any votes next year should be closer because a band of anti-earmark Republicans is joining the Senate.