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NRCC chairman, Texas lawmakers among top earmark requesters

NRCC chairman, Texas lawmakers among top earmark requesters
© Greg Nash

Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm seizes on latest Greene controversy NRCC chairman, Texas lawmakers among top earmark requesters House GOP campaign arm raises .2 million in April MORE (R-Minn.), chairman of the House GOP’s campaign arm, and two Texas lawmakers are requesting the most in earmarks for community projects, according to an analysis by The Hill.

Emmer, who leads the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has requested almost $125 million in earmarks, putting him third behind Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) with about $349 million and Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) at just over $241 million, according to data from the House Appropriations Committee and the lawmakers’ websites as of Thursday.

The most expensive earmark request from Emmer, a four-term lawmaker, is $44 million toward improvements for a stretch of highway in his district.

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Van Duyne requested a total of $334 million for earmarks geared to improvements at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

Allred's requests included two multimillion-dollar infrastructure projects for the airport that overlap with Van Duyne’s earmarks. He also requested more than $1.7 million for mental health initiatives at the Children’s Health System of Texas.

“I’m incredibly proud of our community-driven budgeting process that will leverage input from local leaders to help prioritize the needs of North Texas and create jobs,” Allred said in a statement last month.

Emmer's and Van Duyne’s offices did not respond to requests for comment.

By comparison, the head of the House Democratic campaign arm, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), has requested nearly $42 million in earmarks for fiscal 2022, for items like a sewer improvement project costing almost $13 million.

When reached for comment, Maloney's office pointed to a May 5 statement from the lawmaker in which he said, “Community Project Funding will allow me to use my first-hand understanding of the needs of our neighbors to help the people who sent us to Washington.”

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House Republicans voted to ban earmarks a decade ago over corruption concerns. Earlier this year, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauro110 House Democrats endorse boost to staff pay NRCC chairman, Texas lawmakers among top earmark requesters The COVID-19 crisis may soon be over, but the youth mental health crisis is only just beginning MORE (D-Conn.) announced the return of earmarks but in a scaled-back version.

The new rules limit each representative to 10 “community project funding” requests. Lawmakers must certify that they and their families do not have any financial interest in the proposed funding recipients. For-profit groups are not eligible.

House Republicans later voted to resume earmarks.

Separately, lawmakers can submit project proposals from their districts for consideration in the surface transportation authorization legislation, as announced by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in March. Those earmark requests were not included in The Hill’s analysis.

Jonnette Oakes and Julia Benbrook contributed.