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House approves bill cutting EPA budget by 40%.

The House Approves Deep Cuts ‌in Interior-Environmental Budget

In a partisan floor vote on November 3, the House adopted a $25.4 billion Interior-Environmental appropriations package, slashing more than 35 percent from this‍ year’s budget. The package includes a nearly ⁣40 ⁤percent reduction in ‍funding ⁣for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This move is part of the House’s approval of seven out of the​ 12 appropriations packages ⁤that⁢ make up the⁤ annual federal budget.

During a 10-hour, ⁢two-day ​debate, the House passed ‍several amendments aimed at rescinding Biden ‌administration policies, such as ​public lands oil/gas royalties and lease rate hikes, “environmental justice” initiatives, ⁤and executive orders ​on climate change. Democrats argued that these amendments are ideological and will likely ‍be rejected by the Democrat-led Senate.

While the bill ‍has ⁢no ⁤chance of becoming law, House Republicans hope ⁢to leverage it in negotiations‌ with the⁣ Senate‌ regarding government funding.

Deep Cuts in the Proposed Budget

The House’s proposed budget for fiscal ‍year 2024 allocates $25.4 billion, which is $13.4 billion (35 percent) less than the previous year’s funding. The Department of the Interior (DOI) would ⁣receive $14.3 billion, $677 million ⁢below the previous year’s levels and $3.4 billion less than President Biden’s budget request.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would face a ⁢significant cut, receiving​ nearly $6.2 billion, ​a 39-percent ⁣reduction from the⁤ previous year’s budget and only half of the amount requested ⁤by the Biden administration. This⁢ would ​be ⁢the ⁤EPA’s smallest‌ budget in about three decades.

Representative Joe Neguse (D-Colo.)‌ criticized Republicans‍ for sending budget bills to the Senate that they know will not be adopted. He called ‍it irresponsible, especially considering the⁢ looming government shutdown.

On the other hand, Representative⁢ Tom ⁢Cole (R-Okla.), ⁢Chair of the Rules Committee, defended the House’s budget,⁤ stating that it ‍reflects the needs ⁣of the‌ people ⁤rather than the government. He emphasized ⁣the focus on fiscal restraint and essential resources‌ for clean water, ⁣public⁣ safety, and‍ domestic energy production.

The House engaged ‌in two days of floor ⁣debates, discussing ‍proposed amendments to the DOI budget. Among the most contentious amendments was one by Representative Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) to rescind the Biden administration’s increases in​ federal public land oil/gas royalty‌ and per-acre lease rates.

Fierce Debate Over Amendments

Representative Ogles‍ argued ⁤that the royalty and lease hikes mandated‌ by the Inflation Reduction Act do not address inflation and⁢ instead raise energy costs for​ consumers.‌ He ‍criticized the act for offering substantial subsidies for renewable ‌energy‍ development while ⁤burdening the oil and​ gas industry.

In response, ⁢Representative‍ Chellie ​Pingree (D-Maine) expressed disbelief that Republicans oppose ‍modernizing public lands royalty and lease rates for the first time since the 1920s. She ⁤accused them​ of catering to oil and gas interests and called the amendments terrible.

In addition to ‌the‌ DOI-environmental budget, the House ⁢also advanced the proposed Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development budget. The transportation spending plan will be debated on the floor starting November 6.

The⁣ House’s‌ strategy of approving bills with spending​ cuts aims⁢ to negotiate from a position of strength ‌with the Senate. Republicans argue ‍that fiscal responsibility is crucial, given the nation’s $33.6 trillion debt.

⁢ How do House Republicans justify the budget cuts to agencies like the ⁣EPA and what are the potential implications of these cuts⁤ on environmental protection efforts, ​clean energy transition, and public health?

⁤ Te that are “dead ​on arrival.” He⁢ argued that these​ deep cuts to the Interior-Environmental budget would ​have detrimental effects on programs and ⁤initiatives​ that protect our natural resources and address climate change. Neguse emphasized the importance of adequately funding agencies like the EPA to ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations.

Republican Arguments and Potential Implications

House Republicans⁢ defended the budget cuts as necessary to​ rein in government ‍spending and reduce the deficit. They argued that agencies⁣ like ⁣the EPA have⁣ become bloated and inefficient, and that reducing their funding ‍would encourage them to operate more efficiently and prioritize their ⁢resources better.

However, critics argue⁢ that these cuts⁣ would undermine critical environmental protection efforts,⁢ hinder the transition to clean energy, and threaten public health. The EPA plays a crucial role in enforcing environmental ⁣regulations, combating climate⁢ change, and⁣ safeguarding the quality of our air, water, and land.

Furthermore, cutting ⁤the budget of the Department of the Interior would limit its ability to ‌manage and‌ protect public lands and wildlife, preserve cultural and historical sites, and promote outdoor ​recreation. These​ reductions could ⁣result in negative consequences for conservation efforts and the economic benefits that come from tourism and outdoor activities.

Impact on Negotiations⁣ with⁢ the Senate

Although ​the House’s proposed budget is‍ unlikely to become law, House Republicans ​hope to ‍use it as a ⁢bargaining tool in negotiations with the ‍Senate ​regarding government funding. The Senate, controlled by the Democrats, is likely to push ​for higher funding levels⁢ for environmental and conservation programs.

These negotiations will ⁤be crucial in determining the final budget allocation​ for the upcoming ⁢fiscal year.⁢ While compromise and bipartisan cooperation are necessary to reach a consensus, the significant disparities between the House and Senate proposals may pose challenges.

Ultimately, the outcome of these ⁢negotiations will ⁤not only impact the funding of important environmental agencies and programs ​but ​also shape the policies and initiatives aimed ⁤at addressing climate change, protecting natural ‌resources,⁣ and promoting sustainable development.

Conclusion

The House’s approval of deep ⁢cuts in the Interior-Environmental ⁤budget raises concerns about the potential ⁢consequences for environmental protection, conservation efforts, and public health. While House Republicans argue for reducing government spending, critics ⁣view these cuts as a threat to vital initiatives combating ​climate change ​and‌ safeguarding our ⁣natural resources.

As negotiations ⁣with⁢ the ‌Senate ensue, finding common⁢ ground and prioritizing the well-being of our environment⁤ and future⁤ generations will be ‌essential. Balancing fiscal responsibility and ⁢the‌ need for adequate funding to ​address pressing environmental⁤ challenges should be​ at the forefront of⁤ these discussions.

Ultimately, the decisions made regarding the budget will have far-reaching ⁤implications, shaping the trajectory of environmental ​policies⁢ and determining our commitment to creating ⁤a sustainable and resilient future.


Read More From Original Article Here: House Passes Bill That Slashes EPA Budget by 40 Percent

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