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House G.O.P. Defunds L.G.B.T.Q. Centers by Banning Earmarks for Nonprofits

When Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee moved unilaterally last summer to nix federal funding requested by Democrats for three programs serving the L.G.B.T.Q. community, the normally collegial spending panel erupted in partisan strife.

“They always say there are Democrats, Republicans and appropriators,” said Representative Mark Pocan, Democrat of Wisconsin, who is gay. “And now we have to say there are Democrats, Republicans, appropriators — and, unfortunately, a bigger umbrella called bigots.”

Now House Republicans, facing mounting pressure from conservative groups and hard-line lawmakers in their own ranks to choke off federal funding for L.G.B.T.Q. groups, are trying to avoid another battle with Democrats over the issue by simply barring nonprofit organizations of any kind from receiving federal funding through earmarks.

In an announcement late last month, Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and the new chairman of the appropriations panel, said the change was an effort to “ensure projects are consistent with the community development goals of the federal program.”

The effect will be to turn off the spigot of federal funds for an array of organizations supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Because each chamber makes its own rules governing earmarks — which allow individual lawmakers to steer federal money to particular projects or programs in their districts and states — senators will still be able to request them for nonprofits.

But House Democrats are livid about the change, which they said would deprive a wide range of deserving organizations from receiving federal funds. Only weeks after Congress concluded a slog to fund the government this year, the dispute is an early indication that the next set of spending battles is already beginning.

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