Federal Budget Update

Congress has been working in recent months to pass FY19 appropriations bills in small groups, each called a “minibus,” after President Trump expressed displeasure in the spring at signing an omnibus appropriations bill, consisting of all 12 delayed FY18 bills, and stated that he would never do that again. As of today, both the Senate and House have passed the so-called minibus I, H.R. 5895, consisting of full year funding for the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding measures. The President is expected to sign the bill.

This week….

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The Clock is Running on Next Shutdown Threat

Unless you were on another planet, you know by now that another short-term continuing resolution (CR) was passed to keep the government open. This CR expires at midnight on February 8, 2018, which means that if a budget deal is not reached in Congress by then and signed by the President, the government will again shut down.

EPA announced before the last shutdown that it had funds to operate for about a week. Assuming that's true, and knowing that we've used one of those days of funds while the rest of the government was shut down, it is likely that EPA will be able to operate through February 14 or 15 before needing to shutter the doors.

NTEU National was on the Hill fighting for us and obtained two large victories....

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Ho, Ho, Ho! Shutdown looming!

From our government budget and politics contact. Looks like a game of chicken is unfolding. Democrats and Republicans are both saying that a government shutdown will hurt the other guys more than their side. As a result, it's looking more likely that January 19 will roll around without a budget or continuing resolution (CR). Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Read on for more detail from our budget contact....

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House Committee Passes EPA Budget Bill

Today the U.S. House of Representatives Interior & Environment Committee passed a funding bill for EPA, the Department of the Interior, and related agencies. The bill provides EPA a bit more than $7.5 billion, a 6.6% cut. Coupled with the 1% cut for fiscal year 2017, EPA would be down 7.6% if the bill passes and is signed into law.

There some question about whether the EPA funding bill will pass Congress. Legislators are still discussing an "omnibus" spending bill, that would lump all the non-defense agencies together. No telling what would come out of that process.

We'll keep you posted!

Good? Budget News...

Politico is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives' Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee "finalized a fiscal 2018 Interior and Environment spending package" with only "slight reduction in funds from current levels...."  Politico reports that the bill would give agencies covered by the spending bill, including EPA, "$31.5 billion for fiscal year 2018 compared to $32.37 billion in current funding."

While cuts to EPA's programs are likely to negatively impact environmental protection....

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Congressional Letter in Support of Feds

Yesterday, 102 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), strongly opposing the assaults on federal pay and retirement contained in the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal.

Calling the administration’s proposals that impact the take-home pay and retirement benefits for current federal employees and retirees “destructive,” the legislators asked both congressional leaders to block any effort to bring such proposals to the House floor for votes. They pointed out that no other group has been asked to sacrifice more for deficit reduction than the federal workforce.

Federal employees have already been deprived of $182 billion in pay and benefits. The FY 2018 budget would add another $149 billion in cuts.

We appreciate these members’ support in fighting to stop pay and retirement cuts, and for holding Congress accountable to keep its promises to its workforce and retirees. Clearly, these members of Congress recognize the valuable service provided by our members to the nation. NTEU will continue to work with these members to “oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of public servants,” as the legislators wrote in their letter

To learn more about the budget and legislation, please visit the NTEU legislative action center.

 

Administrator Pruitt to Testify on Proposed Cuts at EPA

According to Politico, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify before the House Appropriations Interior-EPA subcommittee on Thursday, June 15 at 1 p.m. The Committee's website confirms this here.

According to Politico, "appropriators have already indicated they will not cut away EPA's budget as severely as the White House's proposal, particularly on state grants and popular programs cleaning up the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay and other regions."

Of course, even if the cuts are half as bad as what is proposed, a 15% cut could be devastating to EPA's programs, personnel, and ultimately environmental protection.

Pioneering Fulltime Telework at EPA (Part 2 of 2)

Since my first installment of Pioneering Fulltime Telework at the EPA back in October of 2016, there have been a lot of changes across the federal government. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is likely that we will be doing more with less in the years to come – smaller budgets, smaller staff, and a smaller physical footprint.

Thomas Edison said: “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Fulltime telework has value – actually a lot of value – if it is used. The smallest expansion of fulltime telework at the EPA could save millions of taxpayer dollars while meeting and exceeding the business needs of the Agency.

Imagine if EPA encouraged just 20% of its workforce to fulltime telework, it would slash nearly 1% of its annual budget – some $45.6 million!....

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CR Update: Congress Needs to Get it In Gear, Soon

EPA's current funding expires, with much of the federal government's, on Friday, April 28th. Both Congress and the President must act in order to prevent a government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.

Congressional leadership and the administration are in negotiations regarding appropriations legislation that would keep federal agencies operating for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on September 30. With Congress heading into a two-week recess....

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EPA Cuts Would Threaten Public Health and Safety

Washington D.C. –  Among the 3,200 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jobs that would be eliminated under the 2018 budget outline proposed by the White House Thursday are committed civil servants who help enforce clean air and clean water laws, said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

“The proposed cuts at the EPA show a clear disdain for the mission of the agency. The work of EPA employees has led to noticeable and verifiable improvements in our country’s natural resources,” Reardon said. “A cut of this size is a huge step backwards in environmental safety and health and puts at risk the health of American citizens today and that of future generations.”......

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Cuts are coming, but......

....the question is:  when? 

You've probably seen the Greenwire story covering the budget cuts at EPA announced by the White House today. But while the White House wants to significantly cut EPA, there are a number of procedural obstacles in their way that would delay those cuts, hopefully into the next fiscal year. Here's why.....

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