Earmarks are Back: What Does that Look Like?

House Democrats and House Republicans have voted to bring earmarks, also called community funding projects, back in their funding bills. The Senate has not made an official decision to bring back earmarks in their bills, but there is expected to be some movement to do so in the coming weeks. Below is what we know about the House Appropriations Process.

What is the Application Process?

Those who are interested in submitting an application for a community funding project will do so through their member of Congress or members of Congress in the region. Each member of Congress has their own submission form, much like appropriations forms, where they ask questions about the proposed project. Each form is different and individualized to the member, but below are some general guidelines that every member is likely to follow.

After members review their individual applications, Members will only be able to submit 10 requests to the Appropriations Committee, though only a handful may actually be funded.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

State, local or Tribal governmental entities as grantees: Members are encouraged to consider public entities as primary grantees to oversee the completion of the project.

Nonprofit Organizations: If a Member requests that funding be directed to a non-profit organization, the Member will need to provide evidence that the recipient is a nonprofit organization. Further, many water projects often partner with non-profit entities to complete projects. Therefore, projects may also be directed to non-profits with an inherently governmental function.

For-profit entities are not eligible for funding.

What Types of Submissions are Being Accepted?

Each funding bill has different requirements, and only certain projects will be accepted. For example, under the Commerce, Justice, and Science bill, only the below accounts are accepting community funding projects: Byrne Justice Assistance Grants; COPS Technology and Equipment; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–Operations, Research, and Facilities; National Aeronautics and Space Administration–Safety, Security and Mission Services. You can see the requirements for each different bill here. While there are limitations to the funding, organizations can think creatively about the different funding programs that they may be eligible for. Ridge Policy Group can help you review the eligible pots of funding and determine an appropriate submission.

In addition, community engagement and support is crucial in determining which projects are worthy of Federal funding. Only projects with demonstrated community support will be considered. Members will be required to present to the Committee evidence of community support that were compelling factors in their decision to submit the request. Examples of these include, but are not limited to: Letters of support from elected community leaders (e.g. mayors or other officials); press articles highlighting the need for the requested Community Project Funding; support from newspaper editorial boards; projects listed on State intended use plans, community development plans, or other publicly available planning documents; or resolutions passed by city councils or boards.

What are the Funding Requirements?

There are no limits on the amount of money that you can submit for, but the Committee may take into special consideration how scalable a project is. Some members have said that the funding will be most likely to be successful if it is between $50,000 and $900,000.

Several Federal programs eligible for Community Project Funding requests require a State or local match for projects either by statute or according to longstanding policy. The Committee will not waive these matching requirements for Community Project Funding requests. This does not mean that matching funds must be in-hand prior to requesting a project, but that local officials must have a plan to meet such requirements in order for such a project to be viable.

Each project request must be for fiscal year 2022 funds only and cannot include a request for multiyear funding.

What are the Deadlines?

Each member office has a different deadline for their form submissions. The earliest deadline we have seen is next week.

Interested in Applying for an Earmark?

Ridge Policy Group is already working with clients in submitting community funding submission requests as your government affairs experts. If you reach out to your contacts at Ridge Policy Group, we can walk you through the process and how we can best support you.


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