As the arduous, drawn-out process of finalizing fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills continues to bleed into the current fiscal year, some are questioning whether Congress will bother soliciting requests for Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending in FY25. But there’s good news for those seeking Federal support of local projects.
With roughly 3 weeks remaining to pass legislation addressing the first tranche of FY24 appropriations bills, some Members of Congress have quietly begun notifying their constituents to prepare their funding requests for FY25, despite the fact that neither chamber’s appropriations committee has made an announcement on FY25 earmarks or published updated guidance for the new fiscal year.
Time is of the essence in effectively developing earmark requests. Last year, the House portal was only open for request submission for two weeks and Members were only allowed to submit 15 requests. Engaging early is key to getting on your Member’s radar and developing a submitting a viable request.
Here’s how to prepare:
Identify your funding needs: Save precious application time by determining what types of funding your organization or community needs now. Align those needs with existing earmarks accounts and see what’s available.
Review FY24 earmarks guidance: With so little time to turnaround another period of earmark requests, the House and Senate appropriations committees are unlikely to significantly change the application guidelines for individual appropriations accounts. Review existing guidance closely and ensure your requests follow the instructions down to the letter. This includes guidance for individual accounts and the overall process. For example, remember that last Congress GOP leadership instituted a requirement that requests have a federal nexus or previously authorized purpose.
Reach out to your Member of Congress: Engage your Representative or Senator to see if their request form is available. Work with the office to put together the most competitive request possible.
Don’t forget about programmatic and language requests: Keep in mind that in addition to funding for specific projects Members of Congress can request funding levels for agencies and programs funded in the twelve appropriations bills, as well as bill or report language directing specific actions by federal agencies. Programmatic and language requests can have a huge impact if incorporated into enacted legislation.
With a potential one percent mandatory cut to all spending if Congress doesn’t pass all 12 appropriations bills through regular order by April 30, the pot of available funding for earmarks could shrink significantly. This makes preparing your FY25 earmarks requests early and developing a competitive application all the more important.