Big bucks are budgeted for Upstate New York.
With the return of earmarks, members of Congress from New York scored hundreds of millions of dollars for projects back home as part of the $1.5 trillion federal budget signed into law this month.
The biggest haul for upstate: $27 million to make the water supply at Fort Drum safe, a project which Rep. Elise Stefanik and both New York senators pushed for.
Among the other big-ticket items for upstate:
- Millions of dollars for projects at the U.S. Military Academy and the Gabreski Air National Guard Base, as secured by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand
- Nearly $4 million to expand broadband in Niagara County, as secured by Rep. Chris Jacobs and both senators
- $3.5 million each for water system projects in Portville and Middletown, secured by Reps. Tom Reed and Sean Patrick Maloney, respectively. Both senators also advocated for the funds.
Other lawmakers also touted wins.
“I’m bringing $1.5 million for a health clinic at the Rockland Pride Center, which is historic,” Rep. Mondaire Jones said.
“Three million in Cohoes for their reservoir floating solar project. I think that will be an example for the country,” Rep. Paul Tonko said.
The earmark process allows members of Congress to secure funding for specific purposes in their district. Coverage of what upstate’s lawmakers originally requested can be found here.
Earmarks went away for a decade because of abuses that sent some members to prison. They were brought back last year with reforms and new oversight, aimed at improving transparency.
With the budget bill now law, some New York Republicans are facing scrutiny for bragging about securing funding while simultaneously voting against the legislation that included the dollars.
“Your community needs to know what role you played. And if it was a negative role, if it was one that held back on that investing, people need to know that,” Tonko said of them.
Among those falling into this camp: Reps. Stefanik and Jacobs.
Asked about this, Stefanik blamed what else ended up in the bill.
“We worked with the Appropriations Committee every step of the way … Nancy Pelosi then took that bill, she finalized it in her office, added a number of far-left provisions that made it untenable,” she said.
With lawmakers now beginning work on next year’s budget, the earmarks process begins anew, giving New Yorkers another bite at the apple.
Many lawmakers shared the list of projects they successfully got funded in the budget bill. Those press releases are below: