House Extends FY 12 Discretionary Funding and Adds FY 13 Direction for Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs

On March 6th, the House passed HR 933 to appropriate funds for the Department of Defense, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs…and for “other purposes.”  The other purposes include extending FY 12 funding levels for all remaining Federal Agencies and Departments including EPA.  This would avert the March 27th government shutdown as the current Continuing Resolution expires.

The new funding measure retains sequestration cuts across the board, but offers the Defense-related accounts the ability to prioritize how those cuts would be applied across their programs.  No similar flexibility is extended to non-Defense funds.  The non-Defense cuts equal about a $59 billion reduction in the overall discretionary spending cap of $1.04 trillion.

Of particular interest to state drinking water programs, is that the House-passed measure would slice an additional $10 million in unobligated funds from the DWSRF (and a similar amount from the CWSRF).  This, it appears, is in addition to the original 5% sequester cut to the STAG program account.  Other STAG cuts include $15 million from Superfund, $10 million from Brownfields, and $5 million from categorical grants to support Federal environmental mandates.

Attention now turns to the Senate where Appropriations Committee Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), hopes to amend the House measure to add FY 13 funding for several additional Agencies and Departments (those with measures that were close to passing last year) and offer similar flexibilities to those provided to the Defense agencies.