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Tracking STEM Earmarks

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

House appropriators have released a list of over 3,000 earmarks requested by House  members, and Senate appropriators have released over 8,000. Among these, AAAS has 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 interactive map below to explore these projects (NOTE: Senate Labor-H requests are a work in progress), and see an overview of the House requests here. For full appropriations, see 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 review these requests and determine which ones to include in their 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.

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.

Authors

Matt Hourihan

Director

Gwendolyn Bogard

Government Relations Associate