Tough Sledding Ahead for EPA Appropriations

Both the House and Senate have recessed for the month of August having, finally finished with the debt ceiling debacle.  The debt ceiling debate also forestalled House Floor action on the FY 12 Interior, EPA, and Related Agencies appropriations measure (HR 2584) which had been on a fairly fast track with House Appropriations approval on July 19th and early floor discussions right up until July 28th.  The House has promised to take the bill up soon after their post-Labor Day return.

In the Senate, Interior Appropriations Ranking Minority Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has suggested that their vehicle will have much in common with the House measure but is likely to not go as far on air and water budget restrictions.  Murkowski noted that the House bill can generally be used as a guide for Senate proposals but that there are likely to be many fewer riders in the Senate measure.

However, prospects are dim that appropriations for EPA in FY 12 will be passed before the end of this fiscal year.  Expectations are growing that the bill will either be rolled into a larger omnibus measure or that Congress will, once again, resort to continuing resolutions to keep the government in operation after September 30th.  Thus far, of the 12 appropriations accounts, only Military Construction/Veterans Affairs has been approved by both the House and Senate and is awaiting conference action.