After the longest partial Federal government shutdown in U.S. history, and a stopgap spending bill allowing affected agencies to reopen, the U.S. Congress and the Trump Administration have now reached agreement on government-wide appropriations for Fiscal Year 2019. The agreement will include seven separate appropriations bills that will fund formerly shuttered agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Interior, and the Department of Commerce. The agreement includes funding for approximately $1.375 billion for 55 miles of Mexican-U.S. border fence, a key stumbling block in prior negotiations, and a 1.9 percent pay increase for Federal workers.
According to bill summaries provided by both Democrats and Republicans, the separate Interior/EPA bill provides a modest increase in funding for these agencies. Specifically, the legislation will provide $35.6 billion for Interior-EPA for Fiscal Year 2019, which is an approximate $300 million increase above current funding levels. The Interior Department overall will receive about $13 billion next year, which is actually a decrease of about $95 million. EPA will see a small increase of $25 million, bringing its funding to $8.8 billion. Originally, the Trump Administration sought to cut the EPA budget by approximately $2 billion. Both EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund will keep current appropriations nearly identical to last year’s levels. The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act grants program will get a small increase after originally being marked for deep cuts by the Trump Administration.