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House “Squad” Members Secure Over $220M in Earmarks Since 2023

The small group of far-left lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, colloquially known as “the Squad,” have managed to secure over $220 million worth of legislative earmarks in spending bills since the beginning of 2023.

As Just The News reports, the “Squad,” which started with just four members after the 2018 elections, has since doubled to eight members. According to data from OpenTheBooks.com, “these eight members have put almost $220 million worth of earmarks into the last two years of congressional spending packages, for causes like environmental justice, diversity, and immigration assistance.”

As each member of Congress is permitted to request up to 15 earmarks per spending bill, the eight members of the Squad combined could technically demand as many as 120 earmarks per bill. Ultimately, 108 earmarks have been crafted by Squad members since the start of fiscal year 2023.

“The first six of 12 bills that will fund the federal government this year contained 6,582 earmarks worth $13.78 billion, split almost evenly down party lines,” OpenTheBooks continues. “In 2023, the 12 bills were stuffed with 7,510 earmarks worth just over $16 billion” the report says.

Earmarks are generally unique provisions requested by individual members for the purpose of funding pet projects in their home districts. Although there was a 10-year period in which earmarks were banned due to concerns of corruption, the practice has since been reinstated in recent years, with members of both parties being complacent.

One such earmark included $850,000 for a community center near “George Floyd Square” in Minneapolis, which is located in the district of Squad member Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Omar’s justification for the center is the claim that Floyd’s death, the result of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody in May of 2020, “added to the stress faced by the community and increased the need for support and stability in housing and commerce.”

Another earmark was secured by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), widely seen as the founding member and leader of the Squad; this provision guaranteed $500,000 for a project called “Queens Oysters,” which aims to build an oyster reef in her district in order to “address long-standing environmental justice inequities facing underrepresented communities in Queens.”

While critics have long maintained that earmarks lead to corruption, with members often seeking to pay back donors or otherwise give special treatment to their districts, others have defended the practice as simply representing their constituents by putting their district first.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members (L-R) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) attend a hearing on drug pricing in the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. As members of a group of four freshman Democratic women of color, known informally as 'The Squad,' the congresswomen heard testimony from patients and their family members about the negative impacts of rising drug prices in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)