LEND ME YOUR EARS, AND MONEY: The Cicadas are coming… and so are the earmark requests.
House members had to submit their requests by Friday. The biggest takeaway: Vulnerable House Democrats and Republicans are heeding Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advice to “take the dough.” At least, they’re trying.
Out of the DCCC’s list of 32 frontline members for this upcoming election cycle, EVERY House Democrat requested an earmark for their district with the exception of Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who previously argued that even the new process of earmarks will inevitably invite “waste, fraud and abuse.”
And while the NRCC has yet to release its Patriot Program list of members for 2022, a good group of Republicans in swing districts sought to take advantage of the practice as well.
Which earmarks get chosen or axed remains a big question mark until the fiscal 2022 bills get marked up – if lawmakers can manage to pass a new budget this year at all. But the requests suggest that frontline members believe earmarks invite more reward than risk.
Their requests go beyond roads and bridges, and would certainly score them political points back home. The non-controversial nature of the requests would also likely undercut future attack ads from opponents who would normally jump to criticize them for using a practice that has a swampy reputation.
Here’s a snapshot:
-Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) wants money for a low-income dental clinic.
-Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) requested money for a hospital-based Violence Intervention Program.
-Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) asked for funds for Habitat for Humanity to help build affordable homes as well as funds for suicide prevention.
-Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) requested funds to help address mental health responses for police departments.
-Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) asked for funding to expand a food bank.
All in all, roughly 320 members requested earmarks out of 430 House members (there are several seats that are vacant from deaths or resignations).