Federal Update: FY 11’ Budget Heads Into The Homestretch

Updated April 12, 2011

Waiting until the eleventh hour, Congressional leaders April 8th tentatively agreed to a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Compared to 2010 spending levels, the package released by the House Appropriations Committee, H.R. 1473, would cut about $39.9 billion from discretionary accounts, mostly in the sectors of agriculture, transportation and homeland security. Estimating the bill’s cost differently, Senate appropriators found that the measure would assume $38.5 billion in savings. House leaders plan to debate and pass the legislation on April 14. Lawmakers have little time to pass the agreed upon legislation as the current stopgap measure expires April 15.

H.R. 1473 will make a 0.2 percent across-the-board cut to all non-defense discretionary programs. It includes $12 billion in cuts already made through a series of three continuing resolutions cleared by Congress as negotiators worked on a final deal. Among the cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency would receive one of the biggest reductions at $1.6 billion, or 16 percent, from fiscal 2010. About $1 billion of the cuts would be absorbed by two water infrastructure programs: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The programs, which help finance state and local water infrastructure improvements, would be funded at almost $2.5 billion, $1.525 billion for the CWSRF and $965 million for the DWSRF. The bill includes $1.1 billion in grants for state and tribal environmental programs, and $2.7 billion for environmental programs and management activities such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Science and technology programs would receive $815 million, a slight reduction from fiscal 2010 levels, while the superfund toxic waste cleanup program would receive almost $1.3 billion. The cuts reflect widespread frustration with EPA from congressional Republicans, who accuse the agency of pursuing an overly aggressive regulatory agenda. And while the EPA is facing major cuts, it appears likely to emerge from the appropriations showdown with its regulatory powers intact.

Under the legislation, the Department of Energy’s total fiscal 2011 budget would be set at $25.6 billion which is 5 percent less than the department received in fiscal 2010. The department’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would receive $1.84 billion for the fiscal year which $408 million less than allotted to the program in fiscal 2010. H.R. 1473 also would provide $1.1 billion for the Interior Department’s water-related programs. The new funding level for the programs is $33 million less than fiscal 2010. The resolution would restore loan guarantee funding for renewable and energy efficiency projects.




Max Behlke, Policy Associate

(202) 624-5400

PDF Version