Senate Appropriations Committee releases FY 2023 spending bills

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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 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.

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 Senate’s spending bill include:

  • $3.2 billion from the general fund for the Federal Highway Administration, which is $715 million more than FY 2022, to 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 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 included 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 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 for the Federal Aviation Administration’s facilities and equipment, which is $167 million more than FY 2022 and $160 million more than the House bill, to address the FAA’s backlog of facilities and towers and to modernize the air traffic control system.
  • $234 million for the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, an amount equal to FY 2022 and $65.7 million less than the House bill.
  • $1.09 billion for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program, some $315 million more than the House bill.

Interior and Environment. The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill 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 as $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 for innovative water infrastructure loans through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which is less than the House bill’s $80 million for this purpose. However, the $75 million is $5 million above ASCE’s request.
  • $1.29 billion for the EPA’s Superfund program, which is slightly less than the $1.31 billion included in the House bill.
  • $96 million for 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 for the National Park Service, which is equal to the House request and $800 million above ASCE’s request.
  • Funding for one of the IIJA-authorized water infrastructure programs funded in the House bill. Specifically, the bill provides $5 million for the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program, which was provided $10 million in the House bill.
  • $13 million to establish two new water grant programs to address tribal water resources and establish a pilot program for alternative water sources.

Energy and Water. 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.
  • No funds for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
  • $10 million for Corps WIFIA, which $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 for National Levee Safety Program. ASCE’s request was $54 million.
  • $500,000 for National Inventory of Dams, which meets ASCE request.

The bill includes $49.3 billion for 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.

Commerce, Justice, and Science. 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 fiscal year 2022 enacted level and on the same level as the House Appropriations.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): The Senate would provide a total of $1.7 billion, an increase of $468 million, or 38 percent, 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 percent, increase above the fiscal year 2022 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’s 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 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 percent. This includes a $33 million, or 17 percent, increase for climate research and an increase of $20 million for high performance computing upgrades that are critical for climate modeling.

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 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.
  • No funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program ($275 million were enacted).
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