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Why Community Project Funding Matters for Idaho

Why Community Project Funding Matters for Idaho

By Congressman Mike Simpson

Washington, D.C. – “I often hear about people’s frustration that Congress is not working on their behalf, and with all the political grandstanding and bickering going on, I get their point.  But one way in which Congress is working on your behalf is through Community Project Funding (CPF).  Opponents of CPFs have mischaracterized them as wasteful and irresponsible, but in reality, this process restores Congress’ constitutional responsibility over the federal budget process and gives Idahoans a critical voice in determining where that budgeted funding goes.

“Congressionally-directed spending through the CPF program is not more spending.  It simply allows members to assert priorities in their own districts within the existing budget limits.  No federal bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., knows Idaho the way you and I do.  I have lived in Idaho’s second district for nearly all my life.  I’ve spent two decades in Congress listening to Idahoans and seeing firsthand what really matters to them.  Handing over all decisions about allocating the federal budget over to the executive branch has not gone well for Idaho in the past, but through the CPF program I can bring Idaho tax dollars back home for Idaho priorities.  If I didn’t advocate for these priorities, that money would not go to deficit reduction; it would just get spent on pet projects in places like California or New York.

“Earmark opponents like to poke fun at projects without providing any context for why that funding matters to the community in question.  But you tend to see CPFs in a different light when they address a need in your own community.  In the past year, for example, I have championed grants to Idaho communities to prevent sewage from backing up into homes, upgrades for an Idaho fire station that didn’t even have running water, and repairs to failing roads in towns throughout the second congressional district.  Each of these projects has broad community support and buy-in from local governments, and every single one went through a rigorous vetting process to even be considered, meeting stringent transparency requirements and ultimately receiving approval from both committee and agency staff.  If you are interested in knowing more about a project, all the information is on my website

“Over the years, I’ve supported many projects like those highlighted above, each one important to a community in Idaho.  In fact, it’s likely that you are currently benefiting from the safer roads, rehabilitated river walls, or improved sewer systems funded through this program.  People should know the truth about what’s happening with their taxpayer dollars, so I intend to highlight the important Idaho projects included in this year’s appropriations bills over the next few weeks.

“As your representative, I take seriously my responsibility to advocate for Idaho’s priorities within a responsible federal budget.  Abdicating this responsibility wouldn’t reduce federal spending by a single penny; it would just send those funds to pet projects in other states or to a federal agency to spend at its discretion.  At the end of the day, I would rather fight for impactful, important Idaho projects any day of the week.”