Federal Relations

July 7, 2011

FY12 Appropriations Update

Today, three House Appropriations subcommittees are expected to approve FY12 domestic spending bills that continue the push by House Republicans to cut domestic spending and reverse administration policies. 

Interior-Environment Bill:  Steep cuts are proposed for the EPA, federal clean water and drinking water programs, and for state environmental grant programs that Republicans say are a regulatory overreach.  The bill also contains policy riders that include a one-year delay of EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from stationary industrial sources.  Top Appropriations Democrat Norm Dicks (D-WA) warned that the cuts would be “devastating for the environment and for the preservation of America’s natural heritage.”  If the cuts stand, Republicans would have reduced the EPA budget by nearly a third over the last two years to $1.5 billion.

Commerce-Justice-Science Bill:  The C-J-S measure funds a range of agencies, from NASA to the Census Bureau, and would provide $50.2 billion, a drop of more than 15 percent from FY10 levels.  NASA, the Legal Services Corporation, and the Civil Rights Commissions would all face cuts while law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency, would receive modest increases.  

Legislative Branch Bill:  The Capitol Police would be spared cuts under the spending bill due to be backed by the Legislative Branch subcommittee today.  The $3.3 billion plan would cut $227 million, or 6.4 percent, from the FY11 enacted levels.  While the Capitol Police would be level funded at $340 million, it is still 12 percent less than the funding sought by the security force.  Appropriators are unlikely to reverse the cuts as Congress has cited its own budget as evidence that it will lead by example in making tough fiscal choices.

Amendments are not likely at the subcommittee markups, but Democratic attempts to restore funding and limit policy riders are expected at the full committee considerations, which could happen as soon as next week. 

Meanwhile, the FY12 Defense appropriations bill will be considered on the House floor later today.  While cutting domestic spending programs, the House is set to approve a FY12 Defense appropriations bill that would increase national security spending.  The House may still consider several amendments aimed at cutting funding for the Afghanistan war, but significant cuts are unlikely to be adopted.

After completing work on the Defense measure, the House is expected to begin floor debate on the FY12 Energy-Water spending measure.  The $30.6 billion bill comes in at $5.9 billion (19 percent) below the President’s request, bringing spending to around the FY05 level.