Late last week, amid a flurry of pre-recess activity, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released all 12 of their Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills. The nearly $1.7 trillion appropriations package includes $653 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, marking a 10.1% increase over FY 2022 levels, and $850 billion in defense discretionary spending, an 8.7% increase over FY 2022 levels.
ASCE continues to closely track the FY 2023 appropriations process. The Senate’s spending bills come shortly on the heels of the House of Representatives passing a package of six federal funding bills for FY 2023 by a 220-207 vote.
Markups on the Senate package are not expected until after the August recess. A stopgap measure to continue government funding levels into the fiscal year that begins October 1st remains a strong possibility as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle negotiate spending totals. Here’s a closer look at the Senate spending bills:
2023 Spending for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill provides $106.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the Department of Transportation, which is $2 billion more than the FY 2022 enacted level. An additional $36.8 billion in advance appropriations was provided to DOT by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for FY 2023. Highlights of the Senate’s transportation spending bill include:
- $3.2 billion from the general fund for the Federal Highway Administration, which is $715 million more than FY 2022. This would support additional funding for Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program grants, tribal high-priority projects, bridge formula funding, and the development of the Appalachian Development Highway System.
- For Federal Railroad Administration programs, some $2.6 billion is included for Amtrak, which is $269 million more than enacted in FY 2022 and $253 million more than what was included in the House bill. Funding will support operations across 30 train routes to over 500 destinations in 46 states.
Also included were $535 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program ($95 million less than the House bill) and $200 million for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair program ($355 million less than the House bill).
- $2.51 billion was designated for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants program, some $262 million more than FY 2022. However, this amount is $501 million below the House-passed bill.
- $3.06 billion was marked for Federal Aviation Administration’s facilities and equipment, which is $167 million more than FY 2022 and $160 million more than the House bill. This funding should address the FAA’s backlog of facilities and towers and modernize the air traffic control system.
- The Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program was designated $234 million, an amount equal to FY 2022 and $65.7 million less than the House bill.
- The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program would receive $1.09 billion, some $315 million more than the House bill.
2023 Spending Bill for the Interior and Environment
The bill for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies provides $53.2 billion in total funding, a figure that is larger than the one included in the House bill, which provided $44.8 billion. Highlights of the Senate bill include:
- $10.6 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an increase of $1.1 billion from the previous fiscal year’s enacted level, but a decrease compared to the $11.5 billion provided in the House bill.
- Funding for major investments in clean water, including $2.8 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. This amount is broken down into $1.68 for the CWSRF and $1.17 billion for the DWSRF. The total figure is on par with the $2.8 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds included in the House bill.
- Nearly $75 million was designated for innovative water infrastructure loans through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which is less than the House bill’s $80 million. However, the $75 million is $5 million above ASCE’s request.
- $1.29 billion was assigned for the EPA’s Superfund program, which is slightly less than the $1.31 billion included in the House bill.
- $96 million would go toward brownfields grants, which is less than the House bill’s $131 million for brownfields cleanups and $154 million below ASCE’s request.
- $3.6 billion would go to the National Park Service, which is equal to the House request and $800 million above ASCE’s request.
- Funding is also provided for one of the IIJA-authorized water infrastructure programs included in the House bill. Specifically, the bill designates $5 million for the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program, which was provided $10 million in the House bill.
- $13 million goes toward establishing two new water grant programs to address tribal water resources and establish a pilot program for alternative water sources.
Energy and Water Spending Bill
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill proposes $57.5 billion in total funding, which is slightly more than the $56.2 billion included in the House bill. The bill would fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program at $8.7 billion, which is $415 million more than last year but $130.7 million less than the House companion bill. Highlights for the Corps include:
- $2.16 billion for construction, some $33 million below the enacted level, and $540 million below ASCE’s request. The House bill provided $2.47 billion for this purpose.
- Zero funds for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
- $10 million for Corps WIFIA, which is $2.8 million above the enacted level and ASCE’s request. This figure is also larger than the $7.2 million included in the House bill.
- No additional funds were included for National Levee Safety Program. ASCE requested $54 million.
- $500,000 was designed for the National Inventory of Dams, which meets ASCE’s request.
The bill includes $49.3 billion for the Department of Energy, which is a little more than the $48.2 billion included in the House bill. This figure includes $362 million for the Electricity Account, which funds the Office of Electricity and Grid Deployment – an increase from the $350 million included in the House bill.
The Commerce, Justice, and Science Spending Bill
The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill provides a total of $85.83 billion in discretionary funding. This amount is $10.05 billion more than the 2022 fiscal-year-enacted level and on the same level as the House Appropriations. This spending bill includes funding for:
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): The Senate would provide a total of $1.7 billion, an increase of $468 million, or 38%, above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level. This is above the $1.5 billion in the House bill and in keeping with funding levels authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act.
- National Science Foundation (NSF): The Senate would fund $10.34 billion, a $1.5 billion, or 17%, increase above the 2022 fiscal-year-enacted level. This is above the $9.6 billion in the House bill, but not up to the $11.8 billion authorized for FY 2023 in the CHIPS and Science Act.
This funding includes $8.3 billion for NSF research and related activities, an increase of $1.16 billion, and includes funding for the new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships. NSF’s education and training programs would be funded at $1.3 billion, an increase of $321 million. This includes a more than $95 million increase to NSF programs that advance equity in science and engineering.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): The Senate would fund NOAA at $6.5 billion, which is an increase over the $5.8 billion approved for FY 2022, but below the House number of $6.8 billion.
Included in the total is research funding at $776 million, an increase of 20%. This includes a $33 million, or 17%, increase for climate research and an increase of $20 million for high-performance computing upgrades that are critical for climate modeling.
Spending Bill for Homeland Security
The Subcommittee on Homeland Security appropriations bill proposes $81.9 billion in total funding, which is less than the $85.6 billion included in the House bill. Highlights include:
- $9.7 million for the National Dam Safety Program, which is equal to enacted levels. There was no line item for this in the House bill.
- $12 million for the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Grant Program (the same as enacted). The IIJA provided $585 million over five years. There were no funds included in the House bill.
- Zero funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program ($275 million were enacted).
ASCE will continue monitoring these government spending bills as the legislation makes its way through Congress. In particular, we hope that both the Senate and House understand the critical need for adequate funding across the board for improving and modernizing America’s infrastructure. Investing in our infrastructure is a continued investment in American jobs and the health of our economy.