House GOP targets nonprofit funding in changes to earmarks process

House Republicans on Thursday announced changes to the annual process in which members apply for funding for community projects back home, after conservatives strongly opposed Democrat-backed earmarks over issues related to abortion and LGBTQ services earlier this year.

The House Appropriations Committee said Thursday that nonprofits would no longer be eligible for “Community Project Funding in the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) account.”

The change, the committee said, is part of a larger effort aimed at ensuring “projects are consistent with the community development goals of the federal program.”

Newly minted Appropriations Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told reporters earlier this month that members would be discussing potential changes to the earmarks process, while noting that some requests created “political problems” for people.

“That’s just the reality of it, and I shouldn’t have to have a political problem in my district because I voted for a bill that had your earmarks in it,” he explained at the time, while arguing it’s an issue that members on both sides of the aisle share.

However, Democrats are already coming out against the changes.

“Deeming non-profits ineligible for Community Project Funding in the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) account is a seismic shift, as nearly half of all the 2024 House-funded EDI projects were directed to non-profit recipients,” House Appropriations Committee ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said in a statement. “YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other groups vital to our communities are all now ineligible.”

“The restrictions House Republicans started last Congress were misguided. The changes to eligibility announced today are even worse,” DeLauro said. “When House Democrats are in control next Congress, we will reverse these decisions.”

The news comes after Republicans clashed over the use of earmarks in a pair of packages passed last month that funded the government through fiscal 2024.

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