ST. PAUL  (AP) -- Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota says he won't accept or submit earmark requests for spending bills this year.

Franken's office made the announcement on Thursday, two days after Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye banned earmark requests for the next two years.

The Hawaii Democrat joined President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans in swearing off earmarks, which members of Congress use to reserve money for favored projects. Some Republicans have been promoting such a ban for several years.

Franken says he will continue pushing for federal funding through programs that benefit Minnesota residents and help constituents seeking federal grants and other funds.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)