July 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 185

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July 01, 2022

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Earmarks Return as ‘Community Project Funding'

Last week, the House Republican Conference voted 102-84 to lift their decade-old ban on the practice of earmarks by secret ballot, smoothing the way for a bipartisan resurrection of the practice.

The news follows the Feb. 26, 2021 announcement by House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) that House Members would be able to request funding for specific projects that would benefit their districts during the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations process. Earmarks, now rebranded as “Community Project Funding” or “CPF,” allow Members of Congress to steer federal spending to benefit specific projects or entities, usually in their home states or districts.

The Senate is widely expected to craft its own process for including CPF in its appropriations process, but neither a timeline nor a formal agreement between the chamber’s leaders has been announced. However, both Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his Republican colleague, Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), have signaled support for the return of reformed earmarks.

What does this mean? For the first time in over a decade, Members of Congress will be able to request CPF support through the annual appropriations process for eligible nonprofits and state and local government grantees to support specific projects. In the House, each Member will be limited to 10 total requests for FY 22, and the total funding for CPFs cannot be more than 1% of discretionary spending.

In an effort to improve transparency and reduce potential abuse, several guardrails have been set, including: requiring Members to certify that they and their families do not have a financial interest in any request made by the Member; creating a searchable online database of all CPF requests; banning for-profit recipients; and requiring each Member to demonstrate community benefit and support for each request.

The return of earmarks presents a tremendous opportunity for nonprofits and state and local governments to finance critical projects, as it comes at a time when many of these entities are in need.

Eligible entities should move quickly to educate Members and their staff on the benefits of their potential projects. While the Senate has not announced its own process or deadlines, the House Appropriations Committee has set submission deadlines for mid-April, and will begin accepting requests beginning Monday, March 29.

Interested parties should act quickly so not to miss an opportunity to get their priorities included in a Member’s requests. Moving forward, interested groups will want to develop and execute strategies to engage with Members and staff throughout the year to ensure their concerns receive federal support.

©2022 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 82
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About this Author

Rodney Frelinghuysen Director Greenberg Traurig
Senior Director

Rodney Frelinghuysen is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving New Jersey's 11th Congressional District from 1995 to 2019 where he was the chief sponsor of 123 bills. Rodney additionally served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee from 2017 to 2019.

Rodney advises clients on important issues in the public policy arena, such as defense, health care, public transportation infrastructure including port operations, and higher education, among others.

In Congress, Rodney was known for being a strong advocate for rebuilding the nation’s military,...

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Robert C. Jones Legislative & Public Policy Attorney Greenberg Traurig Washington, D.C.
Shareholder

Robert C. Jones serves as co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, D.C. Federal Government Law & Policy Practice. Bob focuses his practice on counseling business, association, and not-for-profit clients on federal funding, legislative, regulatory, and policy matters.

Bob has deep and wide-ranging experience working with clients in a variety of sectors, including consulting, defense, technology, communications, energy, antitrust, trade, manufacturing, health care, engineering and logistics, artificial intelligence, entertainment, financial services, manufacturing, real estate...

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Demetrius G. McDaniel, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Austin, Government Policy Attorney
Shareholder

Demetrius McDaniel is the Co-Regional Operating Shareholder of Texas and Chair of the firm's Texas Government Law & Policy Practice. Demetrius counsels and provides advocacy for Fortune 500 and other large private and public sector clients on federal, state and local legal and public policy matters. His broad knowledge of federal and state government allows him to collaboratively develop strategies to help clients address complex problems that have a government origin or nexus. Demetrius consults with clients on their strategic objectives and provides advice...

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 Monica P. Schulteis Government Contract Attorney Greenberg Traurig Law Firm
Director

Monica Prahl Schulteis is a Director in the firm’s Government Law & Policy Practice, representing clients on a wide range of issues including health care, education, postal, energy, government oversight, homeland security, appropriations, small business, technology and taxation. Monica’s bipartisan approach allows her to effectively advocate for her clients in both chambers of Congress as well as within the Administration. She has worked closely with many key policymakers in several House and Senate Congressional committees, including: House Energy and Commerce;...

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Michael L. Rogers Government Policy Attorney Greenberg Traurig Washington, D.C.
Assistant Director

Michael L. Rogers advises clients on legislative, public policy, and political compliance matters, and helps clients craft and execute custom strategies to accomplish their goals.

Mike previously served as a legislative assistant for Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey), the current chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has wide jurisdiction, including trade matters. In this role, Mike handled policy matters related to energy, the environment, and natural resources, as well as science and technology. Prior to that, he served on the staff of Senator Jack...

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