Over 7,500 earmarks totaling $16 billion are being negotiated by politicians for inclusion in a year-long “omnibus” funding measure that would expire in September 2023.
There is an omnibus framework agreement, as key Legislators revealed this week. According to Bloomberg Government, there are over 7,500 earmarks totalling $16 billion in 2023 appropriations bills issued throughout the year that might make it into the overall package.
According to Bloomberg Government, the Senate has 3,123 earmarks totalling $7,780,973,000 in the 2023 appropriations bills, while the House has 4,386 earmarks totaling $8,231,999,565:
“According to a Bloomberg Government analysis of nine Senate Appropriations Committee papers, the Senate included 3,123 earmarks totaling $7,780,973,000 in its fiscal 2023 appropriations proposals issued in July. According to a study conducted earlier this year, members on the House side put 4,386 earmarks worth $8,231,999,565 in their legislation. The two chambers have published a total of 7,509 earmarks worth $16,012,972,565.
The total designated funds is little less than 1% of the $1.7 trillion federal financing plan legislators aim to complete this year. Members agreed to impose a 1% restriction on the new earmarking procedure when it was reinstated ahead of fiscal 2022, after a decade-long ban.”
Earmarks are expenditure measures attached to bills that are expected to pass and be signed into law by Senate and House members. Earmarks are described by the Congressional Research Service as a benefit given to “a state or specific entity, municipality, or congressional district other than through a legislative or administrative formula or a competitive award procedure.”
Finally, they allow politicians to include “pork” in laws that support projects in their districts, which might be used to reward contributors and special interests. The traditional reason politicians use earmarks is that they can help to ease partisan stalemate. If there is something in it for the people back home (or the campaign coffers), a politician may agree to break ranks with his or her party.
Bloomberg Government stated that “powerful” retiring senators will be among the “largest winners” if omnibus negotiators can achieve an agreement. Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has earmarked $213 million, Vice Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has earmarked $656 million, and Senate Armed Services ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has earmarked $511 million.
According to Bloomberg Government’s study, Shelby has the most allocated funding for the second year straight, with hundreds of millions of dollars.
This includes $200 million for the Alabama State Port Authority, $100 million for repairs of the Woolsey Finnell Bridge across the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa by the Department of Transportation, and $76 million for the University of Alabama in Birmingham’s School of Medicine.
Notably, it is feasible that legislators will be unable to reach an agreement on an omnibus package and will continue to delay the settlement to next year when the retiring lawmakers leave Congress. In that situation, their proposals may be taken up during talks in the next Congress.