What to Know in Washington: Senate’s Earmarked Billions at Stake
Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to know. Learn more.
More than 7,500 earmarks totaling $16 billion hang in the balance as lawmakers attempt to negotiate a government funding deal and avoid a year-long stopgap measure that wouldn’t dole out any funds to members’ favorite local projects.
Powerful retiring senators would be among the biggest winners if negotiators can reach a deal, which would include infrastructure and university funds sought by Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), as well as military construction projects added by Senate Armed Services ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
The Senate included 3,123 earmarks totaling $7,780,973,000 in its fiscal 2023 appropriations bills released in July, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of nine documents published by the Senate Appropriations Committee. A central Excel document containing all the earmarks, compiled from the nine PDF files, is available here. On the House side, lawmakers included 4,386 earmarks totaling $8,231,999,565 according to an analysis earlier this year. A central Excel doc with the House earmarks is available here. Combined, the two chambers have published 7,509 earmarks totaling $16,012,972,565.
The earmarked funding total is slightly less than 1% of the roughly $1.7 trillion government funding package lawmakers hope to finish this year. Members agreed to apply a 1% limit to the new earmarking process when they brought it back ahead of fiscal 2022, after a decade-long ban on the process.
Shelby stands to take home the most earmarked funds for a second year in a row, with 17 projects totaling $656.4 million. That includes $200 million for the Alabama State Port Authority, $100 million for Department of Transportation work on the Woolsey Finnell Bridge over the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, and $76 million for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine.
If lawmakers can’t strike a deal on government funding this year and rely on a stopgap measure into 2023, it’s not clear whether retiring members’ projects will end up in a final omnibus negotiated in a new Congress.
“I’ll be gone. I’ll be cutting the grass and running errands for my wife,” Shelby said. “They’d start all over. I wouldn’t get anything.” Read more from Jack Fitzpatrick.
Happening on the Hill
- The House returns at 10 a.m. to consider legislation to eliminate per-country caps on employment-based immigrants.
- Senators meet at 10 a.m. to consider nominations and advancing a resolution to direct the US’s military exit from Yemen.
Schumer Says Short-Term Spending Bill Needed As Talks Continue
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Congress will need to pass a one-week stopgap government funding bill while talks continue on a comprehensive spending plan.
Delaware Justice Montgomery-Reeves Confirmed to Third Circuit
Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, the first Black judge to join Delaware’s Supreme Court, was confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
LGBTQ Black Congressman Says Same-Sex Marriage Law Isn’t Enough
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) spent much of his 35 years hiding his sexuality. As one of the first openly gay Black members of Congress he spent the past two years fighting for equality. For him, the Tuesday signing by President Joe Biden of a law enshrining federal protection for same-sex marriage, will be a seminal moment but far from the end of the line.
Elections & Politics
Democrats Face Forbidding 2024 Senate Map: BGOV OnPoint
Fresh off increasing their Senate majority to 51-49, Democrats have to figure out how to keep control of the chamber in the next election, when they’ll have fewer pickup opportunities and more on the line than Republicans.
Trump Special Counsel Subpoenas Official Asked to Find Votes
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been subpoenaed in the Justice Department’s investigation into the US Capitol attack and efforts by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to undermine the 2020 presidential election results.
Justices to Deliver Opinions From Bench After Pandemic Pause
US Supreme Court justices will resume their practice of announcing decided cases from the bench, as the high court gradually returns to its pre-pandemic ways.
Around the Administration
- Biden will sign the Respect for Marriage Act at the White House at 3:30 p.m.
- At 2:15 p.m., White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a briefing.
SEC Says Sam Bankman-Fried Defrauded Investors of $1.8 Billion
FTX Co-Founder Sam Bankman-Fried was accused by US regulators of carrying out a multi year scheme to defraud investors as he raised more than $1.8 billion.
- SBF was arrested in the Bahamas after the US government filed a criminal indictment, following weeks of speculation that client funds were misused before his empire’s collapse. Read more.
Biden Bankruptcy Shift Eases Path for Student Loan Discharges
The Biden administration has created new measures for facilitating destitute borrowers’ ability to discharge crippling federal student loan debt in bankruptcy, generating cautious optimism that much needed financial relief is now more accessible.
US, Russia to Talk This Week About Imprisoned American Whelan
US and Russian officials will speak this week about detained American Paul Whelan, a former Marine whose release the Biden administration unsuccessfully sought along with WNBA star Brittney Griner.
US to Call for Permanent UN Security Council Member From Africa
Biden will call for a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council from Africa, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says.
Biden Forms Group to Coordinate Response to Rising Antisemitism
Biden is creating an inter-agency group charged with coordinating US efforts to combat antisemitism and other forms of bias after a string of high-profile episodes that have alarmed the Jewish community.
Keystone Leaks More Oil Than Any Other Line in US Since 2010
Last week’s oil spill in Kansas means that TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline has now leaked more crude oil than any other conduit on US land in the past 12 years.
White House Calls Elon Musk’s Attacks on Fauci ‘Disgusting’
The White House called attacks by Twitter owner Elon Musk on outgoing top medical adviser Anthony Fauci “disgusting” and “incredibly dangerous.”
Electrifying Entire Government Seen as Way to Slash Emissions
The federal government can significantly slash carbon pollution by 2030 through widespread electrification of buildings, vehicle fleets, and procurement—moving the country much closer to the Biden administration’s climate goals, a new study finds.
Microsoft-Activision Challenge Tests FTC Emerging Markets Focus
The Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to Microsoft‘s $68.7 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard will help define the scope of its ability to police over-the-horizon competitive threats.
To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at email@example.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at email@example.com
Stay informed with more news like this – from the largest team of reporters on Capitol Hill – subscribe to Bloomberg Government today. Learn more.