Democrats in Congress are using earmarks to federally fund millions of dollars of “woke” pet projects in their districts — in an attempt to use taxpayer dollars to advance a diversity-focused agenda.
Democrats are earmarking millions of dollars in the upcoming spending bill for unique projects that are designed to advance social justice goals ranging from equality in education to access to preventative healthcare to diversity in public art projects. The move is being slammed by Republicans as “the currency by which the leadership buys votes.”
A recent Fox News investigation uncovered Democrats’ requests have sought to fund “social equity” programs on race, gender and education.
The demands include:
–$1 million for a “cultural placemaking” initiative designed to celebrate the history and culture of Black Los Angeles by Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif. The project is described as an “innovative 1.3-mile public/private streetscape improvement” to celebrate Black culture.
–In Wisconsin, Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan is asking for $1 million to plan and construct a 55,000-square-foot space for Black enterprise, art, history, performance and culture.
–Illinois Democrat Rep. Cheri Bustos asked for $750,000 to create a “Youth Equity Center” that would help children address the “necessary social determinants of health to be successful.”
–Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., is requesting $742,000 for a program that will provide a space for “inclusion and healthy discussions around difficult issues such as racism, gender discrimination and cultural bias.”
–Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., earmarked $1.1 million for a “Center for Child and Human Development” that would include “integrated education, human services and social work” in order to prepare students to “challenge unequal structures and systems around race, age and social class.” The center’s programs would fill the place of school counseling jobs.
–In California, Rep. Barbara Lee, has asked for $1 million to provide “culturally relevant” medical services to the Black community.
–An additional $1 million is being allotted by Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa., for “health equity clinics that provide primary and preventive health care services.”
–Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., requested funding for $455,020 for “increased access, equity and diversity in health careers.”
–Ohio Democrat Rep. Joyce Beatty earmarked $482,500 for a new institute focused on “the interdisciplinary nature of scholarship on race, racial inequality, and social policy.” The goal of the institute is to advance policies and approaches that will “effectively support more socially equitable outcomes” in health, education, public safety and other areas for people of all races.
–Progressive “Squad” member Rep. Ayanna Soyini Pressley, D-Mass., requested $286,000 in funding to purchase technology and “culturally relevant” read aloud books that support the goal of “offering a more equitable and relevant literacy curriculum to students” in public schools.
Other examples include an “equity and inclusion” program at Lincoln University, introduced by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., costing $166,000, and a “social-emotional” learning program in Illinois, introduced by Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, costing $81,000.
Earmarks — a funding request from a member of congress for a specific project in their local district — have a long and beleaguered history in Congress. After a corruption scandal exposed two congressmen involved in taking millions of dollars in earmarks bribes, they were banned in 2011.
Nearly a decade later, earmarks are making a return on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers reintroduced the practice in the House and the Senate is currently exploring a more widespread use.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised the return of earmarks to Congress saying at an event in San Francisco on Thursday, “[Earmarks are] for the good of the community and we encourage people to have as much community support for a project as possible, and so I’m very proud of it.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., warned that earmarks are an opportunity for Democrats to push forward “radical” left wing causes, in a statement to Fox News.
“The indefensible return of earmarks means congressional Democrats will shower billions of taxpayer dollars on all kinds of radical left wing causes,” said Toomey.
Although earmarks are typically used to fund critical infrastructure, education and health care projects that could help local communities, Democrats have recently asked that millions of taxpayer dollars be directed towards funding more controversial projects.
“Earmarks, which is why Speaker Pelosi likes them so much, become the currency by which the leadership buys votes for unrelated legislation, which is terrible,” Toomey told Fox News.
The senator said earmarks are disastrous because there is no systematic review or vetting process.
“It is all about letting a member of congress pick just what’s at the top of his or her wish list,” Toomey continued.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., previously suggested that earmarks could be a way to take power away from the Biden administration by having more control over where money is routed.
“I think members here know what’s most important about what’s going on in their district, not Biden,” McCarthy said at the time of the Republican vote to restore earmarks in March.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz, Remy Numa, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.