D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (WI file photo)
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (WI file photo)

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said Monday the District was shortchanged an estimated $90 million to $200 million in earmarks in the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, which President Biden is due to sign this week.

Norton said the city didn’t receive the same amount of funding for earmarks as states because the District does not have senators to request earmarks. The present appropriation bill is the first in more than a decade that included earmarks, or funding requested by federal lawmakers for governments or non-profits in their districts or states for specific projects.

Each House member and senator who requested funding for eligible earmarks received some or all of the funding they requested. Norton said if D.C. had statehood, it could get its fair share of earmarks.

“The return of earmarks is only the latest example in which D.C.’s lack of statehood has caused financial harm to the District,” she said. “D.C.’s lack of Senate representation cost D.C. an estimated $90 to $200 million in the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill. This unequal treatment is particularly egregious because D.C. residents pay the same federal taxes as residents of states, and because D.C. pays more federal taxes per capita than any state and more federal taxes than 21 states.”  

Norton procured $12 million in earmarks, in line with House members while some senators got more than $200 million for their constituents. Norton cited a past example of the city being bilked because of its lack of statehood status.

She pointed out that in the last Congress, the CARES Act treated the city as a territory instead of a state and the District was deprived $755 million as a result. In the present Congress, she received the $755 million restored in the American Rescue Plan.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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