Earmarks are making a return to Congress. House Democrats have announced their intention to bring back earmarks after a moratorium lasting a decade. Removing the moratorium will give more power to individual lawmakers, especially Congressional members on the appropriations committees and the committees drafting the new infrastructure bill. It also provides stakeholders an opportunity to advocate for provisions and shape policy that is not necessarily included in the President’s budget.
Earmarks are defined as any congressionally directed spending, limited tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit if it benefits a specific entity or state, locality, or congressional district other than through a statutory or administrative formula or competitive award process.
During the 112th Congress (2011-2012), Congress began to observe an “earmark moratorium” or “earmark ban” that prohibited members from requesting a congressional earmark. The ban is not codified in House or Senate rules and is not enforceable by points of order, but instead has been extended by every Congress through each party’s internal rules and committee protocols.
Read more from McGuireWoods Consulting on new appropriations earmark guidelines, deadlines for appropriations requests, and infrastructure and transportation earmarks.