O’Neill and Associates – Appropriations Analysis

February 14, 2022

New England Analysis of FY2022 Federal Appropriation Requests
To view the state-by-state breakdown of the New England federal delegation’s appropriation requests that were submitted by each House and Senate member and disclosed online, as well as an analysis of the approved requests included in subcommittee draft markups click on the following states to be redirected.
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
For inquiries about eligible projects and more information about how O’Neill and Associates can assist your organization in preparing an impactful request for federal funding in the FY2023, please reach out to approps@oneillandassoc.com.

The first session of the 117th Congress witnessed historic legislative feats, including massive investments towards the improvement of the country’s bridges and roads, broadband network, and for the mitigation of climate change and safety of drinking water, as well as the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. These accomplishments were also marked by the return of Congressional earmarks, after a little more than a decade since their departure from the halls of Congress.

With the return of the Democratic majority in the last year, Representatives and Senators from both sides of the aisle put forth spending requests from local hospitals, schools, municipalities, and other nonprofit organizations which showcased sufficient local buy-in for their project. With a revamped process including increased transparency, the House referred to these formal requests as “community project funding,” while the Senate dubbed them as “congressional directed spending” requests. A big deviation from earmarks, community project funding or congressionally directed spending requests had to be project-specific requests from government and nonprofit entities as private sector requests do not qualify under this new process.  

The FY2022 Appropriations process was a learning curve for applicants and staffers alike.  On February 26, 2021, Chair Rosa DeLauro announced that the House will accept Member requests for Community Project Funding in appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year. Chair DeLauro also announced that the Appropriations Committee will enforce a set of important reforms that build on existing House Rules and prioritize accountability, transparency, and strong community support.

New House Reforms

House Appropriations Committee enforced a series of important reforms to guarantee that Community Project Funding was dedicated to genuine need and not subject to abuse.

Public Transparency and Accountability
  • All Requests Online: Members are required to post every Community Project Funding request online simultaneously with their submission to the Committee.
  • Early Public Disclosure: To facilitate public scrutiny of Community Project Funding, the Committee will release a list of projects funded the same day as the Subcommittee markup, or 24 hours before full committee consideration if there was no Subcommittee markup.
  • No Financial Interest: Members must certify to the Committee that they, their spouse, and their immediate family have no financial interest in the projects they request. This is an expansion beyond the underlying requirements in House Rules in order to cover immediate families of Members.
Limited Approach
  • Ban on For-Profit Recipients: Members may request funding for state or local governmental grantees and for eligible non-profits.
  • Cap on Overall Funding: The Committees will limit Community Project Funding to no more than 1 percent of discretionary spending, a recommendation of the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
  • Member Requests Capped: The Committee will accept a maximum of 10 community project requests from each member, though only a handful may actually be funded.
Rigorous Vetting
  • Mandatory Audit: The Committees will require the Government Accountability Office to audit a sample of enacted community project funding and report its findings to Congress.
Community Support
  • Demonstrations of Community Engagement: Members must provide evidence of community support that were compelling factors in their decision to select the requested projects. This policy was recommended by the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

The House acted first, announcing their process of accepting community funding requests on March 19th. Members of Congress were invited to submit their CPF requests beginning March 29 thru mid-April with subcommittee deadlines ranging from April 14th-April 16th.  This process was not consistent across offices – some requested more details than others, others had to move their deadlines to give more time to respond, and committee staff had to push out the deadlines for submittals to ensure staff were properly educated on ensuring applications qualified when submitted.

Senate Process

On April 26th, during a floor speech, the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy, announced the return to earmarking, clearing the way for senators to request funding for home-state projects for the first time in a decade. The guardrails and transparency requirements Chair Leahy announced were similar to those in the House. They include capping earmarks to 1 percent of all discretionary spending, banning earmarks to for-profit entities, requiring senators to post their requests online and having the Government Accountability Office audit some earmarks every year.

Senators, however, were not subject to a cap on the number of requests they can submit as their House colleagues were limited to 10 per fiscal year. House Appropriations subcommittees also capped which accounts in each spending bill were eligible for earmarking, ranging from three to five per subcommittee. Senate Appropriators selected some accounts that were different than the House’s.

Chair Leahy’s earmarks announcement came five days after Senate Republicans voted in caucus to ban earmarks in internal party rules. That decision did not prevent GOP Senators who wanted to request direct spending from doing so, and 16 of the GOP Senators did, including Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Richard Shelby, Budget Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, and Minority Whip John Thune. Only two Democrats did not request funding – Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Margaret Hassan of New Hampshire.

All submitted projects were reviewed by each chamber’s appropriations committees, vetted by personal office and committee staffers, and ultimately, selected projects were included in draft legislation for each of the ten subcommittees that help to determine FY2022 funding levels for the federal government.

FY2022 Appropriations

According to the respective Appropriations Committees for both chambers, 220 House Democrats requested more than 2,000 projects and 108 House Republicans requested more than 700 projects. The House limited individual members to ten project requests each. More than 60 Senators, including 16 Republicans, submitted requests with no limits on the number projects they could support for submission to relevant subcommittees. A limit of 1% of the entire federal budget was set aside for these local funding requests, which consists of nearly $15 billion of the projected $1.5 trillion budget spread across ten spending bills. As of January 2022, The Washington Post has confirmed from senior congressional aides that the current draft of the appropriations package includes about $10 billion in local project funding.

The House passed their FY2022 spending bills by July. The Senate released three subcommittee drafts in August for mark up and Chair Leahy released the remaining nine Senate Appropriations bills in October.  Negotiations on the FY2022 spending bill was marred by the partisan and party infighting on IIJA and BBB which further delayed appropriations progress.  In November and January, the 2 appropriations chairs and 2 vice-chairs met to negotiate top-line numbers and address more controversial subcommittee funding levels, such as Defense.

Current State-of-Play

Currently the government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR), the second of FY2022 which will expire on February 18, 2022.  Congress is getting closer to finalizing an omnibus bill which would include all the FY2022 appropriations bills, as well as additional legislation, potentially including more COVID-19 relief funding.

  • Monday, February 7, 2022 –  the House of Representatives introduced and passed a short-term CR to fund the government until March 11, 2022;
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2022 – the House and Senate Appropriations leaders agreed to top-line spending figures for all 22 FY2022 appropriations, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive omnibus bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year;
  • Week of February 14th, the Senate is expected to vote on and pass the short-term CR that the House already passed.  Extending government funding at the same levels for the 3rd time this fiscal year.

With a full omnibus funding bill in our sights, we have completed an in-depth research and analysis of subcommittee markups, draft appropriations, Congressional press releases and member requests, and have gained an understanding of the types of ‘earmarked’ projects that were highlighted and supported by the Representatives and Senators of New England. O’Neill and Associates  can help qualifying applicants such as municipalities, colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations prepare for the anticipated FY2023 community project funding and congressionally directed funding process.

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