- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The Congress is expected to vote on the final language of the 2011 budget bill on Thursday. They still need to get that step done by midnight, April 14 in order to avoid the next shutdown deadline for the federal government. Late last Friday, the House and Senate leaders reached an agreement. Their staffs completed putting the details down on paper around midnight on Monday.
The current rules of Congress require that a bill be available for public viewing for at least 3 days, which means a vote cannot be held until Thursday. That is the same day that the latest budget extension ends.
Earlier reports were that the EPA’s portion of the budget was not going to be cut. However, that turned out not to be the case. The agency budget would still be reduced but not as much as some had wanted and less than others wanted.
Go to http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_1/Floor_Text/FINAL2011_xml.pdf to read a copy of the actual bill.
In summary, the EPA is reduced by $1.6 billion, a 16 percent decrease from last year’s level. The cuts to the EPA alone represent 61 percent of the bill’s reduction compared to last year’s level. Funding levels for Land and Water Conservation Fund (land acquisition) programs are reduced $149 million (-33 percent), climate change funding bill-wide is cut by $49 million (-13 percent), and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities is reduced by a combined $25 million from last year’s levels.
Funding levels for operational accounts bill-wide are largely sustained to prevent layoffs and the closure of national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, Smithsonian museums and other sites. In addition, the legislation contains language reinstating the Fish and Wildlife Service’s original determination to delist wolves in states with approved management plans in place. It returns management of wolf populations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Utah to the states. The bill also includes a limitation on the use of funds to implement the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Lands policy.