(September 19, 2017) - The House of Representatives last week passed its complete Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) funding package with legislation that encompassed all 12 annual Appropriations bills. The bill would significantly cut funding for many federal agencies including the EPA, which would see its annual budget reduced by $528 Million, to $7.5 Billion.
However, as previously mentioned in the Clean Water Current, and in an important advocacy win for NACWA members, the final House package included level funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This was done through an amendment sponsored by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) that reversed a $250 Million cut, putting the CWSRF in a stronger position for future negotiations with the Senate. The final bill also included numerous policy riders, including an amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would take the teeth out of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL by prohibiting EPA from taking enforcement actions against states in the watershed. NACWA anticipates there will be a strong push to keep many of these riders out of a final negotiated package with the Senate.
While EPA’s budget cut in the House bill is less dramatic than what the President had pushed for earlier this year, it will likely be too severe for the Senate to stomach. The Senate continues to work at the Committee level on FY18, and has not yet released, nor voted on, many of its FY18 funding bills. Congress passed a Continuing Resolution earlier this month that extends funding through December 8 at FY17 levels, by which time the House and Senate will need to either negotiate a final FY18 package or pass another continuing resolution.