Roll Call provided this. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida, is unwilling to hand up control of government spending to the Biden administration.
The House Republican Conference’s traditional center of conservatism, the Republican Study Committee, has adopted the following formal stance on the practice of allocating monies in budget bills for legislators’ districts: It’s against.
To emphasize this point, an explicit ban on the special home-state projects is demanded in the fiscal 2023 budget blueprint that the 158-member group—representing almost three-fourths of the conference—released earlier this month.
The plan announced by RSC Chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind., and the group’s Budget and Spending Task Force is titled “Earmarks waste taxpayer money to special interests, grease the wheels of Washington’s spending machine, and set a bad example of fiscal discipline.”
Six of the 16 signatories to that budget plan, however—Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Fred Keller of Pennsylvania, Trent Kelly of Mississippi, and Reps. Troy Nehls, August Pfluger, and Beth Van Duyne of Texas—have themselves asked for earmarks during the fiscal 2023 appropriations process, which began last week.
CQ Roll Call counted 83 requests for “community project financing,” as House Democrats have renamed earmarks, among the larger group of RSC members this year. This highlights the reluctance within the Republican Party towards the long-reviled practice that was brought back last year after more than ten years. That is more than half of the group’s membership.
The RSC budget plan is a comprehensive but unenforceable roadmap that urges radical changes: The budget is expected to be balanced in seven years entirely through nondefense programs, as military spending would increase and taxes would be decreased.
In conclusion, the statement had a lot to offer conservatives, even though not all of its signatories agreed with every aspect of it, such as the earmark ban.
Requests for response from the majority of the budget plan’s sponsors went unanswered. But Donalds framed his stance on the subject as essential to guarantee effective control of public monies.
“Why would I allow the Biden administration to choose how money is spent?” In an interview, Donalds said. “They have no idea what they are doing there,” I said.
With 121 House Republicans asking the renamed “community project money,” the number of Republicans requesting earmarks increased in the fiscal year 2023. This is an increase from the 109 requesters from the previous year and accounts for approximately 60% of the conference.
[House GOP earmark supporters increase as the number of requests rises]
Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House Appropriations Committee, resurrected the practice last year with updated transparency guidelines and a ceiling at 1% of discretionary expenditure.
Since they were reinstated, just 16 of the 50 Senate Republicans have asked for earmarks; this number is expected to fall in 2019 due to high-profile retirements. Even before they may assume control of one or both chambers, some Republicans are pressing to remove earmarks from the ongoing fiscal 2023 negotiations, according to Democratic Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.
[GOP Senate retirements could be problematic for the future of earmarks]
Donalds, a freshman who didn’t ask for earmarks the previous year, was in the lead among RSC budget signatories who did. His $72.7 million request, which was largely fueled by a $50 million request for work on the Southwest Florida International Airport’s terminal expansion near Fort Myers, totaled earmarks for a total of 63 signatories. Among other things, he requested funds for a community center for young people in danger in Fort Myers and a sewage project in Naples.
While sitting in the Florida Legislature, Donalds claimed to have become familiar with member initiatives. He asserted that members are better than bureaucrats at determining which projects in their districts should receive financing.
He said that he approved the RSC budget well in advance of the start of the “community project funding” procedure and that he had been debating whether to submit an earmark request for some time.
When I was in the state Legislature, state legislatures all acted in the same manner, Donalds remarked. “In my opinion, Congress has expanded the executive branch’s capabilities beyond what was originally intended by the principle of the separation of powers.”
For the fiscal 2023, Van Duyne sought $41.6 million, including $10 million for work at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Van Duyne obtained $15 million for three projects at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the current year’s funding law, on which she co-sponsored two of them.
In a statement, Van Duyne noted that earmarks hand over authority from the administration to regional authorities. She claimed to have established a board for sponsoring community projects and invited each district’s elected representative to take part.
She stated, “I am aware that the history of earmarks has been marred by issues, backdoor agreements, and lack of transparency. “Let me reassure you that North Texas is not like that. If we do not request that it be allocated to specific, successful projects, the Left will have no difficulty spending it in California or New York. This money has already been allotted for local projects.
According to spokesman Jack Colonnetta in an email, Van Duyne worked to make sure the procedure is transparent and locally driven.
Colonnetta stated, “With regard to the RSC budget, the Congresswoman is definitely not supporting earmarks as they were historically employed. “If a procedure is in place, Beth feels it is her duty to use it to award vital cash for North Texas that would otherwise be routed elsewhere or left on the table,” the statement continued.
Item number 400
For fiscal 2023, Kelly asked for $32.5 million in earmarks, including $8 million to dredge the Yalobusha River west of Calhoun City, Mississippi, and $9 million for a sewer project in his district. Kelly received $7.2 million the previous year, $5 million of which went toward an Oxford roadway project.
Pfluger, who didn’t ask for earmarks last year, requested $14.8 million, with $7 million going toward an overpass for a highway in Odessa.
While Nehls had three requests totaling just $2.75 million, principally $2 million for a road widening project in Pearland, Texas, Keller, who also didn’t request earmarks last year, had just one request: $8 million for renovations to the Great Williamsport Levee. Nehls received $6.2 million last year, largely for road improvement initiatives.
Earmarks for seven of the fiscal 2023 House appropriations bills had been released as of Tuesday.
The $8 million Keller requested for the Williamsport project has so far been granted. In addition to an additional $10 million added to an Army Corps of Engineers request for a flood control project in Grenada Lake, Miss., Kelly has successfully gotten $19.1 million in earmarks. Donalds has so far received $14.8 million of his demands, including $5 million for a water project in southwest Florida’s Bonita Springs. Texas A&M University’s wildfire mitigation efforts have received a $500,000 donation from Pfluger. Nehls’ and Van Duyne’s requests have not yet received funding.
The RSC budget was unambiguous in its criticism of earmarks, citing information from the practice’s earlier incarnation that demonstrated appropriators earned an excessive amount of earmarks. The blueprint states that “Earmarks invariably flow to the districts of the most powerful and connected members of Congress.”
If Republicans gain control of the House after the midterm elections, Donalds said he was unsure if they would maintain earmarks.
It’s like issue No. 400 right now if you’re going to speak about earmarks, he said. “We’ll see what happens; that’s up to the members to decide.”
Conservative faction’s earmark proposals highlight GOP division, according to Roll Call.