This week, Congress has been working to pass a $460 billion “minibus funding bill, which includes 6,628 earmarks, totaling $12.7 billion. The House of Representatives passed the funding bill on March 6th, with a vote of 339-85. Of note, Secure Rural Schools was not included in the House passed bill, but it has been reported that Senator Crapo is working to offer the reauthorization of SRS as an amendment, with Senator Wyden as a co-sponsor.  At the time of this writing, the Senate is voting on the measure in hopes to pass it by midnight to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Worthy of note, the name of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who passed away in September, is attached to 112 earmarks totaling $235 million in the bill. Among these earmarks are 69 projects totaling $102.2 million, that were jointly offered with Senator Alex Padilla (D-California). In total, California stands to receive over $700 million in earmarked funding. 

Among other things, the funding package

  • "Fully funds WIC—protecting essential benefits for nearly 7 million women and kids nationwide and ensuring no one will be put on a waitlist or denied assistance.

  • Invests in hiring new air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors to keep people safe and reduce delays for passengers. 

  • Protects vital rental assistance to help millions of households keep a roof over their head and protects key programs to help build more housing. 

  • Sustains critical infrastructure programs to keep rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, and so much more. 

  • Rejects drastic cuts to core environmental and conservation programs—and extreme riders that would block progress to tackle the climate crisis. 

  • Fully funds veterans’ medical care and benefits—and delivers historic investments to increase mental health services for veterans, help end veteran homelessness, and support women veterans’ health care. 

  • Strengthens our investments in cutting-edge scientific research. 

  • Protects resources our farmers and ranchers count on." 

There is a push to pass another six-bill package, which would contain more earmarks, by March 22. This deadline is nearly six months past the start of the fiscal year on September 30.