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‘Squad’ Members Have Earmarked Nearly $225 Million In Spending Bills Since 2023

Eight members of the congressional “Squad” have requested $224 million in earmarks in key spending bills since 2023, according to an investigation by OpenTheBooks.

Many of the earmarks are part of the new $1.2 trillion appropriations bill that was passed on Saturday, which narrowly missed the government shutdown deadline. The 215 earmarked projects included by the eight Squad members feature funds for both green initiatives and race-based projects, according to OpenTheBooks, a government spending watchdog.

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earmarked $1.2 million to fund a new building for the International Muslim Women’s Empowerment Project, whose founder boasts of teaching a self-defense move called the “hijab grab.” Another $500,000 is being earmarked by Ocasio Cortez for the construction of an oyster reef that aims to alleviate environmental justice inequities for the community regarding oyster consumption.

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar earmarked $850,000 to go to a historically black community to stimulate its economy and promote living in the area after the stress of George Floyd’s death, according to OpenTheBooks. Omar also directed $1 million in funds to the Immigrant Opportunity Center for expansion, whose parent non-profit “guides refugees and immigrants in their journey toward self-determination and social equality.”

New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman included nearly $1.7 million for the Environmental Leaders of Color, an organization that seeks to have schools in grades as young as kindergarten teach about climate change.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley included $1 million to build “trauma-informed” and “intergenerational” waterfront green spaces, which had already been given $792,000 in fiscal year 2022 in a separate earmark, according to OpenTheBooks. Pressley also included a $2 million earmark for a park that would help low-income people of color stay cool in the increasingly hot summers, presumably as a result of climate change.

Pressley originally proposed an earmark for affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors, but that was removed from the final $1.2 trillion bill, according to OpenTheBooks.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Summer Lee earmarked $850,000 for repairs on a bridge that “connects minority environmental justice communities” in the state, according to OpenTheBooks.

The U.S. federal government is currently in nearly $34.6 trillion of debt as of Monday, according to the Treasury Department. The government took on more than $800 billion more debt in the fourth quarter of 2023, more than double the gross domestic product growth in the same period.

The offices of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Bowman, Pressley and Lee did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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