Congressional Appropriations Requests: What Cities Need to Know

Every year, Congress considers several appropriations measures which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities—for example, national defense, education, and homeland security—as well as general government operations. Appropriations measures are under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

The timing of different stages of the appropriations process varies from year to year. The timing and process in the House and Senate differs. Please reach out to your U.S. House member to inquire about appropriations requests through their office.

Information about submitting projects to Georgia’s Senators is provided below. Please note that while the deadline to submit requests is generally in early spring, it is recommended that city officials begin discussing potential projects with your members of Congress well in advance, in October or November, to be considered for the upcoming year.

General Guidelines/ Tips for Cities

Please note that this is a new process for everyone, including for most members of the Senate, staffers, and city officials. This year will be a learning process for everyone, but the suggestions below may be helpful to get you through the process.

  • Appropriations requests are not the same as grants, but requirements for certain documentation, eligible project sponsors and activities, local match, local support, and reporting typically mirror existing grant programs.
  • As with any federal funds, there are “strings attached”, including reporting requirements, required environmental reviews, etc. that could increase project costs. Applicants should take this into consideration when making requests.
  • Appropriations requests fall into different categories depending on the project. Senator Warnock has created different forms to better track the three main types of requests: Transportation, Defense, and Non-Defense. Details can be found at these links.
  • Requests for directed spending are very competitive, as there are limited resources to go around to all 50 states and 100 senators. Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff hope to bring funds home to Georgia when possible, for qualified projects. Projects may be more likely to receive appropriations if the request:
    • Demonstrates clear need for the project and the local and/or regional benefits;
    • Indicates that funds can or will be spent in the next 12-18 months, as well as the availability of necessary local matching funds (e.g., show federal appropriations will be the last piece of the puzzle for a project to begin);
  • Please refer to Senate Appropriations Committee guidance on Eligible Accounts and Requirements for detailed information about requirements and note that:
    • Transportation projects MUST included in the Georgia STIP or regional TIP (see committee requirements for details); applicants must include a link to the TIP or STIP.
    • Link to project website for all requests, including planning and research requests.
  • Every federal department or agency manages spending for its unique programs. Cities are encouraged to reach out to State Agencies that may have experience applying for similar federal funding or can act as a liaison (such as GDOT for federal aid highway funding). Many federal agencies also have regional or state offices that can provide assistance (such as HUD’s Georgia Regional Office).
  • NOTE: The congressionally directed spending (earmarks) included in appropriations is just one opportunity to receive federal support for local projects! Congress has capped earmark spending at one percent of the total appropriated funds. This means a majority of the funding provided for federal assistance will still be available through regular competitive grant programs, partnerships, loans, and funding opportunities.
  • If your city applies for a competitive grant in response to a notice of funding opportunity or availability (NOFO or NOFA), Georgia’s Senators can provide letters of support to bolster your application. Please contact Senate offices to learn more! Additional information about federal funding opportunities can be found on the Senators’ websites:

Questions for Senator Warnock?

To learn more about how Senator Warnock can provide support for your city’s request, please check out his grants page and his page regarding Congressionally Directed Spending Requests for more details. Questions about requests may be emailed to appropriations@warnock.senate.gov.

Questions for Senator Ossoff?

To learn more about how Senator Ossoff may be able to provide support, please contact Appropriations@ossoff.senate.gov. Officials should use Senator Ossoff’s Congressionally Directed Spending application to submit a project request. You may email grants@ossoff.senate.gov to be added to the Senator’s grant newsletter and receive updates on federal funding opportunities throughout the state

Additional Resources