House funding panels continue work without budget in place
The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel passed by voice vote yesterday its bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps and other agencies. The bill does not contain enough detail to know how it funds Great Lakes priorities. It does contain a rider that would allow the Administration to repeal the Clean Water Rule without following any standard process that requires public comment. Top Democrats on the panel generally praised the measure while criticizing Republicans for the broader budget uncertainty, as the House GOP conference continues to bicker over a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would set topline discretionary spending levels for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The House bill in total provides $209 million less than fiscal 2017 funding but $3.65 billion more than what President Trump asked for in his budget request.
The House ag panel yesterday also approved its U.S. Department of Agriculture funding bill, which provides money for Farm Bill conservation programs. Democrats lamented the $20 billion discretionary allocation, but were relieved that the draft measure rejects most of the Trump administration’s budget request for deep cuts or elimination of programs.
Today, a subcommittee will mark up a bill that funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The bill released Wednesday would provide $54 billion, or $2.6 billion less than the enacted level in the 2017 omnibus spending bill for the Justice and Commerce departments and scientific research, among other programs. The bill provides $4.97 billion for NOAA, $710 million below current spending levels.