Earmarks with Lipstick are now called Member Designated Projects

lip stick pig
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Members assert that they understand local needs better than government administrators

Statutory and Regulatory Priorities are national 

Earmarks and now Member Designated Projects may create conflicts

Congress is considering Legislation and a House Rule, “Moving Forward Act,”/Surface Transportation  and Community Project Funding , which would reinstate a practice which the Members had abandoned for years. The sponsors of these two initiatives say that this new mechanism is not “pork, because:

  • Transparency– publicly disclosed when the Member makes a request (no midnight mark-ups?).
  • a written justification for why the project is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
  • Community support
  • Early in the Congressional year
  • the lawmaker and their immediately family cannot have a financial interest in the request.

The GAO (a) and several think tanks (b)had commended this abstinence from a meal generally labeled as pork from a barrel.

GAO quote









ENO quote







Chairman DeFazio is a BIG fan of what used to be called “earmarking”



DeFazio statement hill v. bureaucrats


His statement is textbook devolution, a philosophy normally attributed to Republicans. The Chair ignores the work which his committee and Congress do in establishing NATIONAL STANDARDS for federal payments to local communities. The Senior Member of the Oregon Congressional Delegation is a master at crafting language expressing directions to the Department, agencies or other Executive Branch organization on how to spend the taxpayers’ tax dollars! The priorities set cross county and state lines.

DeFazio ar Southwest ORE airport, FAA grants stimulated by the Chairman

Currently, the Member Designated Request does not apply to aviation , but historically such concepts tend to spread across boundaries. As mentioned below, the Republicans support the lipsticked pig euphemism. Oddly, today’s House Minority party has abandoned fiscal conservativism even though historically these designations have been found to not be good use of national funds.

Congress’ oversight of the FAA’s AIP funding, particularly discretionary dollars, has repeatedly expressed the need for NATIONAL PRIORITIES. The “most people in DC” who actually write the checks have written in great detail their process, their standards and even a detailed definition of how applicants for grant should calculate the net benefits of their projects:

AIP Handbook – Office of Airports (faa.gov)

Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) – Airports (faa.gov)

Airport Improvement Program (AIP) 2020-2022 Supplemental Appropriation – Airports (faa.gov)

A frequent critic of the FAA, the GAO,  has studied its prioritization and found it well-administered.








The tremendous, bipartisan Congressional support for member Designated Projects is shown by these two (among many similar stories) headlines:

Earmarks list for states in U.S. House infrastructure bill tops $5.7B

U.S. House Members request more than $2.2 billion for 343 transit projects as part of surface transportation reauthorization

original earmarking

Member Designated Projects


HR 2The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will advance surface transportation authorization legislation later this spring, building on H.R. 2, the “Moving Forward Act,” from the 116th Congress. Members seeking to submit requests for highway and transit designations should utilize the resources below to assist in preparation of project requests and the documentation required. Only Members and approved staff of the U.S. House of Representatives will be allowed access to the secure website to transmit requests to the Committee for consideration. Stakeholder groups with inquiries regarding this process should meet with the Member whose district is home to the project in question.

Member signature attests no family benefit--consequences

Member signature attests no family benefit–consequences







NEW on 6/7/2021: The table with approved Member Designated Projects can be found in section 107 of Division A of H.R. 3684 (pg. 47) linked here.

earmark cartoon







Member Designated Projects: Committee Receives More than 2,000 Submissions for Consideration as Part of Surface Transportation Bill

earmark DeFazio Territorial Highway

earmark DeFazio Territorial Highway






WASHINGTON, DC— Two months after announcing a reformed process for Members of the U.S. House of Representatives to submit projects in their districts for consideration to be included in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Committee Sam Graves (R-MO) today announced 318 members have submitted more than 2,000 projects for consideration.

(To view a list of all submissions, click here.)

The Committee intends to move a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill in the coming weeks to provide critical  investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, rail, and public transit to help communities in every state and territory in the U.S. move forward on badly-needed infrastructure projects.

A closer look at the project submissions:



earmark table



Total number of project submissions: 2,380

          • From Democratic Members: 1,775
          • From Republican Members: 605

Total number of House Members Participating in Member Designated Projects: 318

          • Democratic Members: 213
          • Republican Members: 105

“I commend my colleagues and their staff who went through the rigorous steps to submit Member Designated Projects under the reformed system, which we adopted to ensure transparency in the process and viability of the projects,” Chair DeFazio said. “It’s not an easy process, but it is important because I strongly believe elected representatives—working with their communities—know the specific infrastructure needs of their district far better than most people in D.C. and can serve as their constituents’ best advocates as Congress crafts infrastructure legislation. I was pleased by the high level of participation, on a bipartisan basis, in this process. Now I look forward to advancing our surface bill soon, complete with Member Designated Projects, and working with all my colleagues to send a transformational bill that creates jobs and improves our communities to the president’s desk.”

“The Committee established a thorough set of requirements for any Members choosing to submit requests, and now posting all submissions in one location will help ensure the highest level of transparency,” said Graves.

As part of the process, Chair DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves asked their colleagues to submit projects with community support that help advance the goals of the surface bill.  The Committee also required all member submissions to include the following information for each project requested:

  • Documentation of whether the project is on the State, Tribal, or territorial transportation improvement program (STIP); and on the metropolitan transportation improvement program (TIP), if applicable
  • Sources of funding for the full share of the cost of the project beyond the amount requested
  • Letter(s) of support from the state department of transportation, or local government, transit agency, or other non-federal sponsor
  • A description of the process that has been or will be followed to provide an opportunity for public comment on the project
  • Project phase (e.g., Planning, Final Design, Construction)
  • NEPA category of action (e.g., Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment, Environmental Impact Statement)
  • Status of environmental review
  • Whether the project has received federal funding previously, and if so the source and amount
  • Certification that the member, their spouse, and other immediate family members do not have a financial interest in the project.

Chair DeFazio transportation wish list

DeFazio community list














Even Republicans buy into the “Member Designated Projects” a/k/a Earmarks

earmark graves

House Republicans Opt to Restore Earmarks After Lengthy Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans narrowly voted Wednesday to allow their members to seek earmarks under certain conditions, making a clean break from a decade-long ban against seeking money for specific projects back home….

In line with the rules established by Democrats, the policy change approved by Republicans specifies that no member shall ask for an earmark unless it is publicly disclosed when it is made. Each request must include a written justification for why the project is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. And the lawmaker and their immediately family cannot have a financial interest in the request.

Capitol Earmark

Many in Congress say the ban has gone too far, ceding the “power of the purse” to party leaders and the executive branch while giving lawmakers less incentive to work with members of the other party on major legislation. That frustration spurred Democratic appropriators to revive earmarking, announcing they will accept public requests for “community project funding” in federal spending bills.


republican wish list

bipartisan infrastructure








Community Project Funding Transparency


earmark com project banner


To meet urgent needs across the United States, the House Appropriations Committee has invited Members of Congress to request funding for projects in their communities. These requests are subject to strict transparency and accountability rules, which can be found here.

Funded Projects

Members were invited to submit projects to the Appropriations Committee as a first step in the appropriations process. After receiving submissions from Members, the Committee carefully reviewed them for inclusion in fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills. The following lists provide information on the Community Project Funding requests that were funded by each Subcommittee.

Chairman DeFazio’s aviation Designated Project:

Project Name: Aviation Professional Pilot Improvement Project
Request Amount: $497,000
Intended Recipient: Lane Community College
Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 4000 E 30th Ave Eugene, OR 97405
Signed Financial Disclosure Letter
Explanation of the request: 
The Lane Aviation Academy (LAA) currently provides commercial pilot, remote pilot, and aviation maintenance training. To keep up with industry demand and keep southwest Oregon students competitive, LAA needs additional aircraft, aircraft avionics, and other industry expected new technologies. The purpose of the Aviation Professional Pilot Improvement Project (APPIP) is to improve the quality of training and maintain accessibility of LAA’s commercial pilot programs by providing new and enhanced training for LAA students, help LAA maintain current student cost rates, and streamline training for students, saving them time and money. This would ensure our community members have access to high-quality training, and LCC is able to provide those community members high-quality training.

Lane Aviation Academy




In alphabetical order, websites for each Member’s requests are below:earmarks Member Designated Community Projects list










earmark pib


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1 Comment on "Earmarks with Lipstick are now called Member Designated Projects"

  1. The Environment and Public Works Committee has approved its own surface bill, but it’s pretty different from what DeFazio is proposing, largely maintaining a status quo of highway funding, whereas the House bill sets new limitations on how states can spend their money. It also doesn’t include millions in earmarked projects, as the House’s version does.

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