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Drinking Water Programs Face Steep Cuts in 2020 Presidential Budget Request

Yesterday, President Donald Trump unveiled the fiscal 2020 White House budget request, which continues to push for a smaller federal roll in environmental regulations, leaning heavier on the states to fill the gaps. Overall, the budget request, released March 11, proposes a 30 percent reduction to EPA programs, from the $8.8 billion enacted by Congress in February for fiscal 2019 to $6.1 billion in fiscal 2020. The proposed reductions include:
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  • Public Water System Supervision Grants to $67.9 million from fiscal 2019’s enacted level of $101.96 million, a decrease of about 33 percent;
  • The Drinking Water SRF to $863 million from fiscal 2019’s enacted level of $1.16 billion, a decrease of about 26 percent;
  • The Clean Water SRF to $1.1 billion from fiscal 2019’s enacted level of $1.7 billion, a decrease of about 34 percent; and
  • WIFIA to $25 million from fiscal 2019’s enacted level of $63 million, a decrease of about 60 percent.

The presidential budget request outlines the Administration’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, however, Congress that will approve, modify, or reject the request. The administration’s FY18 and FY19 requests, which proposed EPA budgets of $5.7 billion and $6.1 billion respectively, were not enacted despite a fully Republican Congress in those years. With a Democratic House, it is unlikely this budget will be made law without significant modification.

Additional details on funding levels, including the proposed eliminated programs, can be found in EPA’s Budget in Brief.