Current Status of Federal Appropriation Bills

By Zachary Sheldon

National Mall
Image Credit: ehpien via Flickr

Congress continues its work on creating the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget. The House and Senate are working on finalizing the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriation bill and the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill. TWS provided testimony regarding these bills in March to encourage appropriations that support wildlife professionals and science-based management and conservation.

The Senate Agriculture appropriations bill was approved by the Appropriations Committee on July 16th and is awaiting a vote by the full Senate. The House Agriculture appropriations bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on July 8 and will be marked up by the full House at a later date. Listed below are the current appropriation levels in each bill for departments, agencies, and programs of particular interest to wildlife professionals.

Status of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Proposed Appropriations as of July 17, 2015 (in millions of dollars).

  

Department, Agency, or Program

  

Senate

  

House

 President’s Request FY 2015 Enacted Levels TWS’s Request
Farm Service Agency 1,490 1,577 1,579 1,603 .
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 876 874 859 874 .
Wildlife Services . 109 100 109 109
Wildlife Damage Management . 90 80 90 90
Wildlife Methods Development . 19 . . 19
National Institute of Food and Agriculture 1,289 1,284 1,503 1,289 .
Natural Resource Conservation Service 855 839 1,031 858 .
Conservation Technical Assistance . 735 733 . 733

The Senate Interior appropriations bill has passed through the Senate appropriations committee and awaits a vote by the whole Senate. The House Interior appropriations bill passed through the subcommittee and full appropriations committee. Heated debate by the full House caused the bill to be pulled from the floor on July 9, leaving an uncertain future for the bill. Listed below are the current appropriation levels designated in these bills for departments, agencies, and programs of particular interest to wildlife professionals.

Status of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations, as of July17, 2015 (in millions of dollars).

  

Department, Agency, or Program

  

Senate

  

House

 President’s Request FY 2015 Enacted Levels  TWS’s Request
Interior 11,055 11,459 12,116 10,747 .
Bureau of Land Management 1,188 1,117 1,196 1,086 .
Wildlife Management 89.4 89.4 89.4 52.3 89.4
Wild Horse and Burro Management 80.2 77.2 80.6 77.2 80.6
Threatened and Endangered Species 21.6 21.5 21.6 21.5 48
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1,441 1,432 1,576 1,439 .
National Wildlife Refuge System 475.2 483.1 508.2 474.2 508.2
The North American Wetlands                        Conservation Act 35.1 35 34.1 34.1 34.1
The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants Program 3.7 3.7 4.2 3.7 4.2
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 52.1 51.8 52.4 51.8 60
International Affairs 14.6 14.6 14.7 14.5 14.7
State and Tribal wildlife grants 60.6 59.2 70 58.7 70
Ecological Services Program 284.7 231.9 258.2 284.4 273.2
National Park Service 2,729 2,667 3,048 2,615 .
U.S. Geological Survey 1,059 1,045 1,194 1,045 1,200
Ecosystems Program 158 154 176 157 176
Wildlife Program 45.8 44.3 46.7 45.3 46.7
Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units 17.4 17.4 20 17.4 20
National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center 25.7 26.4 37.4 26.7 37.4
U.S. Forest Service 5,123 5,060 4,943 5,073 .
Integrated Resource Restoration program . . 822.1 . 822.1
Forest and Rangelands 291.9 277.5 292 296 292

These bills also contain riders and amendments that stipulate or forbid certain actions that impact natural resource professionals. The House Interior bill contains amendments that prevent the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, implementing the “Waters of the United States” rule, and regulating the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle. The bill also continues a restriction preventing the FWS from making any additional ESA rulemaking on greater sage-grouse, and prevents new closures of public lands to hunting and recreational shooting except in the case of public safety. The Senate Interior bill also contains many of these policy riders.

The outlook for the Interior appropriation bills is hazy at best, as the House bill is no longer actively being considered and the Senate bill is not currently scheduled for a vote. The Agriculture appropriation bills have a more positive outlook, as both bills have passed through the Appropriation Committees and are waiting to be voted on by the full House and Senate.

To keep up to date on the status of these bills and other appropriation bills visit the House Appropriations website and the Senate Appropriations website.

Sources:

Senate Appropriations Committee

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee