Republicans flock to earmarking as new guidelines take impact

​Curiosity in bringing dwelling federal funding earmarks in appropriations payments is rising amongst Home Republicans underneath new restrictions the GOP majority instituted for the following fiscal 12 months.

New earmark requesters embody some high-profile Republicans who didn’t request earmarks whereas Democrats dominated the chamber within the 117th Congress, together with Home Freedom Caucus members Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Harris of Maryland and Ben Cline of Virginia.

Home Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, is one other GOP lawmaker who didn’t ask for earmarks within the final Congress however has now jumped in.

Fourteen Home Republicans in all who didn’t beforehand request earmarks, and 33 of the 40 freshman Home Republicans, are collaborating within the “neighborhood undertaking funding” course of, in line with Granger spokesman Alex Attebery.

Granger and GOP leaders instituted new necessities for members’ initiatives to have a “federal nexus,” or functions licensed in prior legal guidelines. In addition they barred earmarks for museums, memorials and “commemoratives,” or initiatives named for a person or entity.

They usually eradicated earmarks fully from the Labor-HHS-Training and Monetary Companies payments, after some conservatives focused initiatives they deemed to be “woke” that had been funded in these measures final 12 months.

“Chairwoman Granger strengthened the rules and guardrails for [earmarks] in an effort to restrict wasteful spending and guarantee taxpayer {dollars} are getting used responsibly,” Attebery mentioned in a press release. “Finally, extra members are engaged within the appropriations course of, and that’s precisely what Ms. Granger got down to do as chairwoman.”

No extra ‘sweet’?

Monday marked the due date for members to submit their earmark requests on-line underneath the chamber’s transparency guidelines.

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With the excessive variety of new requesters, the general share of Republicans collaborating within the earmarking course of is for certain to develop this 12 months. Practically 60 p.c of Home Republicans participated within the course of final 12 months, and Republicans overwhelmingly voted in opposition to a proposal to ban earmarks, in a 52-158 vote, earlier than the beginning of this Congress.

Granger has requested $12 million price of initiatives, together with $5 million to assemble a YMCA in Fort Value and $3 million for a Fort Value meals financial institution.

Greene has requested just below $14 million, together with $3.8 million for a taxiway enlargement undertaking at Floyd County’s Richard B. Russell Airport and $2.2 million for gear for the Rome/Floyd Hearth Division.

Together with Greene, probably the most stunning names on the listing of latest requesters are a pair of Freedom Caucus members, Harris and Cline, although each sit on the Appropriations Committee.

Harris, the chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has requested round $75 million in earmarks, together with $20 million for a street enchancment undertaking in Ocean Metropolis and $15 million for an Military Corps of Engineers undertaking that might enhance the Ocean Metropolis Inlet’s jetties.

Cline has solely posted one request, but it surely’s a giant one — $80 million to broaden Virginia’s I-81 — for the Transportation-HUD invoice, a subcommittee that Cline sits on. 

“It’s the financial spine of my district,” Cline mentioned. “So it requires widening from finish to finish.” He mentioned he appreciated the method’ new guidelines, and charged that Democrats “handed initiatives out like sweet.”

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“We lastly have put some construction across the program and course of, in order that we’re solely funding these core capabilities of presidency, which can be central to infrastructure,” he added.

Greene and Harris didn’t reply to requests for remark.

For instance of certainly one of Harris’ undertaking justifications, his web site states that the Ocean Metropolis jetties undertaking would assist industrial boaters and fishermen entry the Atlantic Ocean, and is a licensed use of taxpayer {dollars} underneath the 1935 Rivers and Harbors Act.

Greene wrote to appropriators that the airport undertaking was acceptable as a result of it “supplies a lot wanted security enhancements to an necessary regional airport.” She mentioned it was licensed underneath chapter 471 of U.S. Code Title 49, coping with airport growth.

Different Republicans requesting earmarks after not collaborating final 12 months embody Reps. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Michelle Metal, R-Calif., and Invoice Posey, R-Fla.

A overwhelming majority of the Republican freshman class is collaborating within the course of, and requesters bridge the ideological divide, from New York Reps. Mike Lawler and Anthony D’Esposito to Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden and Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna.

Luna is a Freedom Caucus member who initially voted in opposition to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., through the speakership election in January. She has posted just below $5 million in requests, together with $2.5 million for sewer repairs in Gulfport.

Wyoming Rep. Harriet M. Hageman, who defeated former Rep. Liz Cheney in a high-profile Republican main, requested earmarks, as did Michigan Rep. John James, who misplaced two shut Senate elections in Michigan earlier than his election to the Home.

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Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who returned to Congress this 12 months after a tumultuous tenure main the Inside Division through the first two years of the Trump administration, requested simply over $75 million. His requests embody $30 million for the Blackfeet Nation to construct a Tribal Middle and $20 million for a forestry college and job coaching facility in western Montana.

Zinke mentioned Congress ought to have a say in how the federal authorities spends its cash, as a substitute of leaving the discretion solely to companies.

“Once they say, earmarks, it’s actually about appropriations,” he mentioned. “And it goes again to Article One within the Structure, that no cash ought to be faraway from Treasury with out consequence of appropriations, by legislation, by Congress. So we’re doing our responsibility.”

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