Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fiscal 2011 Budget Resolution Set to Move through the US Senate

The Senate Budget Committee today (April 22) will take up the Senate's fiscal year 2011 budget resolution; one that would potentially allow Democratic leaders to move legislative items through Congress under budget reconciliation rules.  The House Budget Committee has not started its mark up of the House Budget Resolution yet.  Most years (but not always), Congress negotiates and adopts a Budget Resolution in response to the President’s proposed budget. House and Senate committees have been holding budget hearings regarding the agencies under their jurisdiction.   Appropriations Committees in both the Senate  and House  will go about developing legislation to allocate funds, in line with FY 2011 spending ceilings set by the Budget Resolution (twelve appropriation subcommittees in each chamber will be tasked with drafting legislation to allocate funds to government agencies within their respective jurisdictions).  A Congressional Research Service introduction to the Congressional appropriations process can be read on-line and downloaded here (PDF file).

Below is the wording from the environmental section of Budget Committee Chairman’s Mark for the Fiscal Year 2011 Senate Budget Resolution (the Chairman's Mark can be downloaded as a PDF file in full here).

Environmental Protection and Water Infrastructure
The Chairman’s Mark provides $10.4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which includes $3.5 billion for EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. The overall EPA funding level could also accommodate increases for Superfund, allowing the EPA to clean up more sites, as well as the brownfields program, and a variety of other EPA programs. Except for those explicitly stated in the Mark, it does not make assumptions with regard to other EPA programs.

The Chairman’s Mark includes funding equivalent to the 2010 enacted level for the Army Corps of Engineers. It includes a small increase above the 2010 enacted level for the Department of Interior. These levels fully fund ongoing Everglades Restoration activities, including construction of authorized projects contained in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and the Everglades National Park Expansion Act.

Aquatic Ecosystems
The Chairman’s Mark fully funds the Chesapeake Bay Program at $63 million and the National Estuary Program (NEP) at $35 million.

The Chairman’s Mark matches the President’s requested increase for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the additional funds used primarily for the acquisition of climate satellites.

Public Lands
The Chairman’s Mark exceeds the President’s request for the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service. It includes the President’s proposal to increase funding for land acquisition programs.

Fire Suppression
The President should be commended for taking steps in his budget to account for growing annual fire suppression costs. The Chairman’s Mark fully funds the President’s request for wildfire suppression activities at the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior. It provides the 10-year average for fire suppression costs and assumes that an additional $357 million will be provided if appropriated funds are exhausted and the severity of the fire season requires additional funding.

Great Lakes Restoration
The Chairman’s Mark recognizes the need to address significant and long-standing problems affecting the major large-scale aquatic, estuarine, and coastal ecosystems nationwide. The Chairman’s Mark therefore fully funds the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million to work with Great Lakes states, tribes, and local communities and organizations to address issues prioritized in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. This initiative could address issues such as invasive species, non-point source pollution, habitat restoration, and contaminated sediment. Furthermore, the Chairman’s Mark recognizes the particular threats posed by the Asian Carp to the economy of the entire Great Lakes region and the importance in implementing prevention activities from the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. The Chairman’s Mark also supports the President’s proposal to use outcome-oriented performance goals and measures to target the most significant problems and track progress in addressing these ecosystems.

Corps of Engineers
The Chairman’s Mark recognizes the Corps of Engineers’ role in maintaining our nation’s infrastructure, and maintains funding for its construction and operations and maintenance accounts at the 2010 level.

Rural Water
The Chairman’s Mark recognizes the importance of the Bureau of Reclamation rural water program to support ongoing Municipal, Rural and Industrial (MR&I) systems. It provides funding equal to the 2010 enacted level to support these vital rural water development projects.

Yucca Mountain
The Chairman’s Mark supports the President’s request to close the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository and establish a blue ribbon commission to investigate alternatives.

No comments:

Post a Comment