Senate Passes First FY20 Appropriations Bills

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This week, the Senate passed their first FY20 appropriations bills in a “minibus,” or spending package (H.R. 3055) that consists of four bills: Interior & Environment; Transportation, Housing & Urban Development; Commerce, Justice & Science; and Agriculture.

The Senate’s FY20 Interior & Environment appropriations bill includes:

  • $9 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or about $200 million more than its current funding level.
  • It also funds the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) at $1.1 billion and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) at $1.6 billion, both of which are on par with current funding levels.
  • The Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) program is funded at $73 million, which is $5 million more than the current funding level. The House bill includes $9.53 billion for the EPA. It funds the DWSRF at $1.3 billion, the CWSRF at $1.78 billion, and the WIFIA program at $45 million.

ASCE supports all three of these programs as critical funding and financing mechanisms to help raise our nation’s “D” drinking water and “D+” wastewater grades.

The Senate’s FY20 Commerce, Justice & Science appropriations bill includes:

  • $8.3 billion for the National Science Foundation, a 3% overall increase from FY19.
  • $1 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), $53 million above the FY19 enacted level.

The Senate’s FY20 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill includes:

  • Overall less funding for core highway and transit programs included in the FAST Act.
  • $450 million supplemental to $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
  • $1 billion for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.
  • $1.9 billion for the Transit Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program.

Several amendments were also included in the THUD bill, including one introduced by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and Martha McSally (R-AZ), which suspended the “Rostenkowski Test.”  The “Test” is a budgetary mechanism to address revenue shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund that would lead to a $1.2 billion cut to public transportation investment, or a 12 percent across-the-board cut to every public transit agency in the nation.  ASCE’s government relations team proactively ensured the Jones-McSally amendment was included in the bill.

ASCE supports these programs to raise our nation’s aviation, roads, bridges, ports, and transit grades.

The minibus now heads to the House-Senate conference committee, where final spending levels for FY20 will be determined. In order to avert a government shutdown before the current continuing resolution expires on November 21, the Senate needs to pass its remaining eight FY20 appropriations bills, conference them with the House, and then have the President to sign them into law.

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