What happened: House Republicans voted to remove their party’s 10-year-old ban on earmarks, in which Congress designates specific funds for specific projects. House Democrats have also endorsed the return of earmarks and released stringent requirements such as proving state and local support for a project and ensuring the money can be spent quickly.
Why it matters: In the past, earmarks have proven to be an important tool to attract bipartisan support for surface transportation laws. The action by House Republicans signals that infrastructure negotiations are picking up pace. GOP members don’t want to be left behind when it comes to the potential for directed spending to their districts.
What’s next: Bipartisan Senate leaders are working out details of an expected agreement to bring back earmarks in the upper chamber.