Three of Iowa’s four U.S. House Republicans submitted the maximum number of fifteen earmark requests for federal funding in fiscal year 2024, which begins on October 1.
U.S. Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), Ashley Hinson (IA-02), and Zach Nunn (IA-03) were among the numerous House Republicans who asked for “Community Project Funding,” which Congress directs in several dozen areas of the federal budget. Iowa Capital Dispatch reported on May 14, “The sum of Nunn’s requests is the highest, at $41.25 million. Miller-Meeks is second with $40.15 million, while Hinson requested $37.06 million.”
For the third straight year, Representative Randy Feenstra (IA-04) declined to submit any earmark requests. As Bleeding Heartland previously discussed, Feenstra’s staff has said the Republicans “believes it is time for Congress to restore fiscal stability and balance our budget.” But earmarked projects come out of funds the federal government will spend regardless. So when a member makes no requests, that person’s district loses its chance to receive a share of money that has already been allocated for earmarks.
Thanks to transparency rules established in 2021, the funding requests submitted by Miller-Meeks, Hinson, and Nunn are available online. Once the 2024 budget has been finalized, Bleeding Heartland will report on which projects received funding for the coming fiscal year.
The Iowa Capital Dispatch article by Ashley Murray and Ariana Figueroa highlighted an apparent contradiction: many House Republicans who have demanded steep cuts across the federal budget have asked for millions of dollars to support projects in their own districts. That has long been the case with earmarks: one person’s valuable community investment can be portrayed as wasteful pork in someone else’s district.