Washington Update: May 11, 2017

The budget for fiscal year 2017 has been wrapped up and now focus has shifted to fiscal year 2018. Minor cuts were proposed, and mostly avoided in FY2017’s budget, but major cuts were cued up by President Trump’s proposed budget. Keeping track of where we are on the budget can be confusing–please check out our budget FAQ for more information.

The House and Senate Budget Committees are moving forward with drafting budget resolutions that will set the overall funding levels appropriators use as they allocate funding for federal programs. Budget committee chairs in both the House and Senate look to be drafting resolutions that will balance the federal budget in 10 years, which the President’s budget will also try to do. According to press reports, White House officials are crafting a fiscal 2018 budget for the President that aims to wipe out the deficit through a combination of robust economic growth, steep cuts in certain means-tested entitlement programs, and other savings, such as the cuts to non-defense discretionary programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In other Great Lakes news, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) circulated a letter urging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to commit to keeping regional agency offices open. Rumors had been circulating that the Great Lakes regional office–Region Five–would be closed due to proposed budget cuts in fiscal year 2018. In the letter, Senators highlight the importance of regional offices in the ability of the EPA to respond quickly to threats in the region. Read the letter in full, here.

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