What is the funding process for federal grants?
There are two basic ways the federal government awards funds, through mandatory funding or discretionary funding. Members of Congress vote on “authorizing” legislation that funds the mandatory commitments of the federal government for programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and SNAP. Also every year, levels of discretionary funding are determined during the Congressional appropriations process. Rep. Lewis and all other members of Congress work to ensure that federal programs which provide key services within their districts are funded at levels requested by local government authorities and constituents they represent.
The federal grants announced by this release fall mainly in the discretionary category. The money appropriated by Congress is sent to the federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which then disburse it directly to the states and local governments. Sometimes federal agencies issue requests for proposals which place states, cities, and local organizations in competition with others around the country for the opportunity to gain federal support for a local project. This is where the efficacy of city and state organizations are tested to determine whether they can compete effectively to receive those funds. Rep. Lewis often meets with and advises city, state or local agencies to help them strategize effective methods of engaging the federal agencies throughout the grant process.
Pell Grants, Byrne Justice Assistance, veterans’ services, LIHEAP home heating support, early education, COPS, YouthBuild, Jobs Corps, the CDC, minority health programs, TIGER, critical disease research initiatives, tenant and fair housing assistance all stem from Congressional discretionary funding. Recent successful discretionary grant efforts from the 5th Congressional District of Georgia include the Atlanta Streetcar, the Multimodal Passenger Terminal, the Atlanta BeltLine, and the UTC.
Through his District Office, Rep. Lewis offers grants assistance and workshops to explain the federal grants process. Please call 404-659-0116 if you are interested in participating in one of these workshops. To see the most recent granted federal funds to the 5th Congressional District look at our Related Items on this page. If you are seeking more information about any one of these federal grants, please consult the granting information for more details on their selection process.