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Tracking STEM Earmarks

A new tool to explore science-relevant earmarks requested by members of Congress.

Over the past year, House members requested over 3,000 earmarks, while Senators released over 8,000 requests in their own chamber, and many of these ended up in the final omnibus. Among these, AAAS identified hundreds of projects relevant to the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enterprise, from K-12 STEM education to the establishment of new research institutions and technology parks. Use the map below to explore earmark requests by member, district, or project category, and see which ones were adopted into law via the omnibus. For a look into how these earmarks impact agency toplines read out deeper dive into the earmarks in the omnibus, and for full appropriations, see also our FY 2022 dashboard.

Background: Earmarks are appropriations directed by legislators to a specific district, locality, or institution. Congress first banned them in 2011, but this year legislators decided to bring them back, albeit renamed as "community funding projects" in the House and "Congressionally directed spending" in the Senate, and with rules to boost transparency (see these Congressional Research Service reports on the House [PDF] and Senate [PDF] rules for more).

The projects shown in the above map were submitted by members to their respective chamber's appropriations committee for consideration. Appropriators reviewed these requests and determined which ones to include in the final FY 2022 spending bills (the "Subcommittee" filter above tells you which request is directed to each bill and subcommittee). See the House committee website and the Senate committee website for more information and links, as well as longer member-provided project descriptions.

Note there may be cases in which an earmark was accepted into the initial House or Senate spending bills, but excluded from the final omnibus. Also, several projects were requested by multiple legislators.

AAAS identified projects by searching for terms like "science," "research," and "innovation." We excluded projects without a clear and specific STEM focus, and used our best judgment for borderline cases, of which there were many. If you know of a STEM-relevant project request you think we missed, contact us.