House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut

House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut
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The first bill from the House Appropriations Committee allocated $37.28 billion for the Interior Department and the environment, which was $7.24 billion above the president’s request.
 
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While Trump proposed cutting funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by about a third, Democrats are hoping to increase funding to the agency by $672 million. The proposal would bring the EPA's budget to a total of $9.5 billion.
 
“Our Interior-Environment funding bill totally rejects the pro-pollution, anti-public lands, anti-environmental protection budget proposal submitted to Congress by President Trump,” said Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Let's prevent irreparable harm to an irreplaceable wilderness area Democrats secure fast-track to the floor for Canada-Mexico trade deal MORE (D-Minn.). 
 
“Instead, Democrats are prioritizing investments that ensure our air is safe to breathe and our water is safe to drink,” she added.
 
The $13.8 billion proposed for the Interior Department, which includes funding for land management, Fish and Wildlife Services, National Park Services and Ecological Services, came out $2.4 billion above Trump’s request.
 
The increases to the Interior budget include funding for 500 additional staffers within the National Park Service, as well as an extra $135 million to deal with deferred maintenance at parks.

The bill also sets aside $18 million in the EPA budget for the study and regulation of a chemical used in a variety of nonstick products and fire-fighting foam that has been leaching into water. 
 
A second bill from Democrats on funding for energy and water programs offered an 11 percent increase to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The proposal would replace Trump's proposed 86 percent cut, and also gives a $59 million funding boost to the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, a key energy research program.
 
In his budget, Trump not only proposed eliminating the $366 million in current funding for the program, but clawing back $287 million additional dollars in funds that had not yet been obligated.
 
Rep. Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturFive things to watch in Trump's budget proposal Democrats criticize Medal of Freedom for Limbaugh as 'slap in the face' Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal MORE (D-Ohio), who chairs the appropriations subcommittee on energy and water, said the bill "rejects the President’s drastic, short-sighted cuts across the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation – all of which contribute to our nation’s economic prosperity."
 
Democrats argue that budget cuts run counter to Republican calls for energy “innovation” as a solution to climate change, and have pressed Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryRick Perry to rejoin dental insurance company as chief strategy officer Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is designated survivor for 2020 State of the Union Attorney tells McConnell that Parnas has records 'directly relevant' to impeachment MORE to defend cuts that could inhibit the department from achieving its agenda.
 
“As you can imagine, many of these proposed cuts are nonstarters as far as I am concerned,” Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushMLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues Democrats praise Romney for breaking with GOP on convicting Trump Democrats criticize Medal of Freedom for Limbaugh as 'slap in the face' MORE (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, told Perry at a hearing last week. 
 
“These reductions would severely impact federally-funded investment in clean energy research and development, harming our economy and global status as leaders in these areas.” 
 
Perry reiterated an argument that budget cuts did not indicate a lack of importance to the program.
 
"For too long, government success has been measured by how much we spend on it," he said. 
 
The energy and water bill also included $665.7 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration, most of which is oriented toward nuclear weapons.  
 
Outside of the EPA, the bills rejected several other elements of Trump’s budget proposal, including eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. The new proposals allocated $167.5 million to each program, an increase of $12.5 million from current levels, and increased funding to a number of other arts programs that Trump proposed cutting.
 
Both bills will be marked up in subcommittee on Wednesday, and are expected to be taken up by the full committee as soon as next week.
 
The Senate, in the meantime, has not yet released any funding bills or set overall spending limits for appropriators. 
 
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOn The Money: Republicans expect Trump to pull controversial Fed nominee | Inside Judy Shelton's confirmation hearing | Trump extends emergency declaration at border Republicans expect Trump to withdraw controversial Fed nominee Pentagon transferring .8 billion to border wall MORE (R-Ala.) said he is waiting for Democrats and Republicans to strike a deal with the White House on spending before writing bills, though he may forge ahead in early summer if they fail to strike a deal.
 
--Updated at 3:52 p.m.