Senators Carper & Coons Now Accepting Requests for Congressionally Directed Spending for Fiscal Year 2022

U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) are now accepting requests for congressionally directed spending for specific projects in Delaware for the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations process.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced his intent to restore Congress’ constitutional power to approve congressionally directed spending items with enhanced transparency and accountability measures. The Senate Appropriations Committee will, on a bipartisan basis, accept requests for congressionally directed spending items for appropriations bills for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2021.

“I am pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee will once again accept our input regarding worthwhile projects in Delaware that will have a positive impact on our residents,” said Senator Carper. “I am grateful that Senator Leahy has outlined a bipartisan process that will be transparent and fair, and I look forward to working with Senator Coons and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester to help make targeted investments in the First State.” 

“The power of the purse is one of Congress’ core constitutional duties,” said Senator Coons. “Members of Congress are best positioned to work with our constituents to determine where federal funding is needed most in our communities. I am pleased to see congressionally directed spending return to the Senate with enhanced transparency and accountability measures, and I look forward to working with Senator Carper, Representative Blunt Rochester, and stakeholders across Delaware to deliver important federal investments to our state.”   

In reviewing member requests for congressionally directed spending items, the Senate Appropriations Committee will implement Rule XLIV of the Standing Rules of the Senate. Rule XLIV requires rigorous procedures for accountability and transparency such as:

  • No Member Financial Interest: The rules forbid any member from pursuing a congressionally directed spending item to further his or her financial interest, or that of his or her immediate family. Each member requesting a congressionally directed spending item must certify in writing that there is no such interest and make that certification available to the public. 
  • Request in Writing: Any member requesting a congressionally directed spending item must do so in writing, including the Member’s name, the name and location of the intended recipient, and the purpose of the spending item.
  • Committee Consideration: When reporting legislation containing congressionally directed spending items, the Committee is required to make each item publicly available online in a searchable format as soon as practicable after the mark up (including the name of each Member requesting the item). 
  • Disclosure Before Floor Consideration: The rules prohibit a vote on a motion to proceed to a bill or a vote on adoption of a conference report, unless the chair of the committee certifies that a complete list of congressionally directed spending items has been publicly available for at least 48 hours.
  • Point of Order Against New Projects in Conference Reports: A point of order may be raised against a provision of the conference report if it includes a congressionally directed spending item that was not included in either the House or Senate bills.

In addition to these important requirements, Chairman Leahy will enhance the existing Senate procedures for congressionally directed spending items with the following reforms:

  • Institute a one percent cap on discretionary spending for congressionally directed spending items;
  • Ban congressionally directed spending items to for-profit entities;
  • Require Senators to post online their congressionally directed spending item requests, as well as their financial certification disclosures attesting that they do not have any financial interest in any of the items requested; and
  • The Committee will require the Government Accountability Office to audit a sample of enacted congressionally directed spending items and report its findings to Congress.    

Non-profit and government entities can learn more about the process and access the Delaware congressionally directed spending request forms on Senator Carper and Senator Coons’ websites.