House Makes Funding Allocations for Discretionary Spending

On May 21st, the House Appropriations Committee released information about its “302(b)” spending allocations for non-Defense accounts in fiscal year 2014.  While the allocations are non-binding, the funding levels are used to distribute dollars across all 12 appropriations accounts.  According to reports, the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies (which includes EPA’s appropriation) will have $24.3 billion to spread across its various programmatic accounts.  This figure is about 18 percent below pre-sequester FY 13 funding levels and nearly 20 percent below the Administration’s FY 14 budget request.

It remains to be seen where and how Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Mike Simpson (R-ID) will apply the $4 billion in new cuts to already strained funding levels across programs as diverse as the Indian Health Service, Forest Service, Council for Environmental Quality, and National Park Service as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.  The potential impacts on EPA’s budget, which saw a 17 percent reduction in FY 13, could be severe.  Easy targets such as the drinking water and clean water revolving loan funds and climate change activities have already been slashed in FY 13 and have little to give for FY 14 if they are to remain viable.

Speculation has already begun that this “no win” situation is not likely to be resolved and will result in yet another year of continuing resolutions to avoid making the hard choices.  Should this come to pass, one consequence of this inaction would be to extend all of the sequestration requirements.