The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill provides $27.5 billion in discretionary budget authority. This is 12 percent below the President’s requested level and 7 percent below the level provided for fiscal year 2011. The total funding for the bill is almost at 2009 levels. The bill includes $9.9 billion for the Department of the Interior, $7.1 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), $4.5 billion for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and $4.6 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The spending levels in the bill do not exceed the 302(b) allocations adopted by the Appropriations Committee which are consistent with the overall spending level approved by the House in the Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 34).
Interior. The bill funds the Department of the Interior at 7 percent below the fiscal year 2011 enacted levels and 11 percent below the request. The levels reflect reductions to Interior’s agencies, including Fish and Wildlife Service (21 percent below the FY 11 enacted), and the Bureau of Land Management (6 percent below the FY 11 enacted). The committee recommends consolidations and restructuring of programs in Interior including streamlining redundant functions in landscape conservation initiatives and wildland fire coordination. The committee also recommended $61 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund programs, $238.7 million below the FY 11 enacted levels, reflecting a move to provide no funding for new land acquisitions other than for small privately owned parcels of lands within federal preserves, known as Federal inholdings.
The bill provides $2.5 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a 3 percent reduction below FY11 levels and a 1 percent increase above the President’s request. This includes increased funding for contract support, education, school construction, health care facilities, and fully funds inflationary costs.
Environmental Protection Agency. The bill funds EPA at 18 percent below FY 11 enacted levels and 20 percent below the President’s request. The reductions reflect a rollback of stimulus-driven growth, which accounted for over $25 billion in combined stimulus and appropriations since FY 09. The bill also prohibits the use of funds for the implementation of greenhouse gas regulations.
USDA. The bill provides funding for the Forest Service at 4 percent below FY 11 levels and 9 percent below the request.
HHS. The bill provides $4.5 billion for the Indian Health Service, which is 9 percent above 2011 levels and 3 percent below the request.
National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). The bill provides $135 million to NEA, a 13 percent reduction below FY11 levels and 8 percent below the request. The committee noted the 17 percent increase in NEA’s administrative budget since FY 08.
Climate Change. The bill provides $287.6 million for government-wide climate change related activities, a reduction of $83.4 million below the FY 11 enacted levels and recommends better coordination of government-wide climate change programs and funds to eliminate duplicative and unnecessary spending. The bill requires a report to Congress on Federal climate change expenditures.
Mandatory Spending. The bill includes $438 million in mandatory budget authority. This includes funds for U.S. territorial assistance, range improvements, and payments in lieu of taxes (PILT). In PILT, the bill includes a two percent deduction of state royalties to help cover Interior’s federal administrative costs. The bill also includes $81 million in savings from changes in mandatory programs.
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