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  • U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says he hopes that his colleagues in both chambers see the renewed earmarks process as more transparent and accountable, to the benefit of all constituents regardless of party. The No. 3 House Democrat told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he sees "nothing political" about trying to best serve districts. Clyburn's comments came as the window for the next fiscal year closes on the requests. The once-popular practice of member-directed funding requests was banished from Congress a decade ago. Critics thought too many projects fostered a "pay to play" culture. Rebranded as "community project funding," the process has returned, as lawmakers in both parties grew frustrated by their inability to shape spending legislation.