House approves FY18 spending bill, EPA cuts

The House of Representatives this month passed an omnibus appropriations bill that, if enacted, would provide funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a range of other federal departments and agencies for the duration of the 2018 fiscal year. But the bill is not expected to see further action in the Senate; instead it will likely serve as a starting point for House and Senate negotiators as they work to compile a final FY18 spending plan before a stopgap federal funding bill expires in December.

The $1.2 trillion package would cut EPA funding by 6.5 percent to $7.5 billion next year, but the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) would be maintained at their current funding levels ($863 million and $1.394 billion, respectively). The bill would also provide $30 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, including $5 million to cover EPA’s administrative costs.

Other parts of the House bill would extend the existing Buy American rules that apply to DWSRF-funded projects for the duration of the FY18 fiscal year and would reject the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate the WaterSense program.

The Senate has yet to approve any individual FY18 appropriations bills, so a continuing resolution approved by lawmakers earlier in September will keep the government operating beyond the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. The continuing resolution runs through December 8, which is the new deadline for Congress to finalize an FY18 spending plan.

RELATED: House panel approves 6.5 percent EPA cut

Some information contained in this news appeared in the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ (AMWA) Monday Morning Briefing

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