The Return of Earmarks in the Federal Budget Allows Congress to Direct Funding to Specific Projects

In 2021, the U.S. Congress lifted a 10-year moratorium on the use of earmarks in the Federal budget by allowing its members to again direct funding to specific local projects. Subsequently, the last two Federal budgets included hundreds of millions of dollars for what are now called “Community Project Funding” (CPF) requests.  

How These Requests Work 

If a Congressional member chooses to utilize this mechanism, the number of CPF requests he or she can make has typically been limited to 10 projects, with a cap of approximately $10 million per project. A questionnaire is typically provided for the local agency to provide relevant information for the project as well as a recommendation for which Appropriations sub-committee the funding request should be directed to.  

Keys to a Successful CPF Undertaking, Which Takes Time 

One of the most important keys to success for a CPF request is a demonstration of support by the community, which is often accomplished through letters of support from local government, area leaders, civic groups etc. If the sub-committee approves the request, and the appropriation remains in the Federal budget when it is signed into law, the next step will be to apply for the funds through the appropriate agency (prominent examples include FEMA or the EPA). The entire process from the initial CPF request to obligation of funding can be quite time-consuming, taking as much as 18 months. 

Congress typically develops the first draft of the Federal budget in February and March, which is when local agencies should be working with their members on CPF requests. While the fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, it is rare that a budget is approved by then, so Congress utilizes Continuing Resolutions until negotiations are complete (the FY2022 budget wasn’t approved until March, six months into the FY). 

With approval of the budget, Federal agencies can then work with the CPF recipients through an application process. Only then can the funds be spent.  

Quiddity can help interested parties better understand and walk through the entire process. Contact our team to get started!



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