Fri. May 24th, 2024

House GOP’s ‘discriminatory’ funding change draws ire of Democrats, nonprofits

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May9,2024

Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are coming out against a new announcement by House Republicans targeting funding for nonprofits, panning the latest move as “discriminatory” and an attempt to limit dollars to LGBTQ organizations.

House Republicans recently announced they will limit what community projects are eligible for federal funding as part of the annual appropriations process, in a change critics say could hurt LGBTQ groups and have broader implications for other nonprofits. 

“This move is an outrageous attempt to target LGBTQ+ organizations and cut off funding for necessary resources in our communities,” said David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign vice president of government affairs, in a statement. 

“But the collateral damage will be significant — with groups like the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs swept up in the same discriminatory tide.”

The House Appropriations Committee, which produces the 12 annual government funding bills, said Thursday it would block nonprofits from being eligible for community project funding via the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) account as part of the annual housing and transportation appropriations bill. 

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), newly minted head of the committee, said at the time the change is part of a larger effort aimed at ensuring “projects are consistent with the community development goals of the federal program.”

Cole told reporters earlier this month members would discuss potential changes to the earmarks process, while noting some requests created “political problems” for people.

“That’s just the reality of it, and I shouldn’t have to have a political problem in my district because I voted for a bill that had your earmarks in it,” he said.

The new move comes after Republicans clashed over the use of so-called “earmarks” in funding legislation passed last month that funded the government through fiscal 2024, with some citing dollars going to projects they said provide LGBTQ-related services, social services for undocumented immigrants and abortions. 

But advocates have taken aim at Republicans over the push, which critics have argued builds upon a larger effort targeting funding for projects that benefit LGBTQ people. 

“They have targeted LGBTQ folks in the appropriations process in an unprecedented way,” Stacy told The Hill on Friday. He also noted what he described as “anti-LGBTQ” riders pursued by Republicans in their funding bills last year, including measures advocates say would have restricted health care for transgender people.

“This is a really poor signal for whether they’re going to pursue the same strategy for the [fiscal] 25 bills they did with [fiscal] 24,” he said, while also pointing to past efforts by Republicans to strip funding for some LGBTQ projects in appropriations bills.

Democrats have come out strongly against the recent change. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), top Democratic appropriator, said “in order to accommodate the extreme Republican wing, Republicans are trying to root out any help for the LGBTQ+ community.”

“They are willing to hurt their own religious organizations, seniors, and veterans. The result of this change does not just hurt House Democrats,” she said.

DeLauro previously called the change “a seismic shift, as nearly half of all the 2024 House-funded EDI projects were directed to non-profit recipients.”

“YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other groups vital to our communities are all now ineligible,” she said.

“It’d be an awful idea to ban your max going to nonprofits,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who serves on the Appropriations Committee and has clashed with Republicans over efforts targeting dollars for LGBTQ-related projects.

Pocan, who is gay, suggested the latest move could be a way to avoid more narrowly targeted restrictions on funding programs or institutions that have a LGBTQ focus.

“This may be an effort to try to avoid that,” Pocan told The Hill. “But again, this is a slippery slope. If they go down this path, I think it’s not going to work.”

The Hill has reached out to Cole’s office for comment. 

Analysis by Roll Call found that EDIs accounted for a chunk of the billions of dollars in earmarks included in last month’s batch of government funding legislation for fiscal 2024, and that well more than half of those earmarks began on the House side. 

“They’re just taking a very broad brush and denying the nonprofit sector who, government relies upon to be providing vital services in communities across the country, and just cutting them off completely,” Rick Cohen, chief communications officer at the National Council of Nonprofits, told The Hill when discussing the change. 

“It’s really something that in the name of political expediency is going to cause real pain for real people in the communities that these members of Congress represent,” he added.

Cohen said the move could likely mean tougher competition for nonprofits to vie for federal dollars, noting previous restrictions on earmarks in the annual bill that funds the departments of Labor, as well as Health and Human Services, known as the LHHS. 

After Republicans targeted earmarks in the LHHS bill, members looked to the annual housing and transportation funding bill, called T-HUD, for nonprofit dollars, creating what one source familiar said led to a “huge demand for that EDI fund.”

“They had already created this like bottleneck in that portion, and then to chop it off is kind of why we’re now in this situation,” they said.

“It’s narrowing the options of places to go and the groups were doing earmarks through Labor, HHS, and that got shut off, and moved over to T-HUD,” Cohen said. “That gets shut off or at least narrowed. Where else do you go?”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “House GOP’s ‘discriminatory’ funding change draws ire of Democrats, nonprofits”
  1. Could this funding change potentially lead to an unfair disadvantage for LGBTQ organizations and other nonprofits in need of support?

  2. As a long-time supporter of equal rights, I find this funding change deeply concerning. It seems like a glaringly discriminatory move that could severely impact the vital work of LGBTQ organizations and other nonprofits. It’s important to stand up against such unjust actions and protect the inclusive fabric of our communities.

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