As Congress Returns To Funding Earmarks, Who Will Benefit?

Laurie Fields, who lives in Forest Manor subdivision, speaks during an interview outside her Huffman, Texas home on May 10, 2021. Fields says her home took on feet of water during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019. She supports a proposed $1.7 million storm water mitigation project which could help protect her neighborhood from future flooding. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)

(AP) — Earmarks were banished from Congress over a decade ago, but the funding for lawmakers’ pet projects is marking a sudden return. About $14 billion, or 1% of discretionary spending, will be devoted to earmarks in this year’s spending bills. Aiming to avoid scandal, lawmakers have revamped and renamed the process, requiring that earmark requests be made public and that lawmakers attest to having no conflicts of interest. The process is now being called “community project funding.” The experiment could rise or fall on the reaction from voters, particularly those skeptical of federal spending. Many Republicans are refusing to join in, characterizing earmarks as a kind of graft.


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