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Budget Blueprint in Brief

While the full FY 18 Administration’s budget request is not expected until May, the FY 18 Budget Blueprint or “skinny budget,” was released on March 16.  For EPA, funding decreases equal 31% of the FY 16 enacted/FY 17 continuing resolution levels of $8.14 billion.  The overall Agency request is only $5.7 billion for FY 18.  Few details are provided in the Blueprint.  However, it appears that funding for categorical grant programs such as PWSS may be at risk of some funding cuts, while other grant programs such as those for the Great Lakes Restoration and Chesapeake Bay programs would be totally eliminated.  Science and research funding would be cut approximately in half.  Alternatively, the DWSRF and CWSRF would share a modest $4 million funding increase.  EPA staffing levels would also decline under the Blueprint with the elimination of more than 3,000 positions.
However, neither the House nor Senate is expected to accept the budget request as proposed.  ASDWA expects that more moderate voices will prevail in both chambers.  No dates have been set as yet for appropriators to initiate discussions related to FY 18 funding for EPA.
Meanwhile, considerable speculation continues regarding the status of the FY 17 continuing resolution.  Set to expire on April 28, there is a fair amount of uncertainty as to whether Congress will come together and support a path forward, possibly as an omnibus funding bill or an extension of the current CR, or whether political polarities will result in a government shutdown.