Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut

Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut
© Greg Nash

The $1.3 trillion government-wide spending bill released late Wednesday rejects President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE’s proposal to slash the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget by 31 percent.

Senior lawmakers negotiating the omnibus appropriations bill instead chose to give the agency $8.1 billion for fiscal 2018, keeping it at the same funding level as 2017.

The bill still needs to pass both chambers of Congress and get President Trump’s signature before Friday at midnight in order to prevent a government shutdown.

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“The American people support investments in clean air and water, public lands, parks, and the arts and humanities, which are vital to the health and well-being of our communities and our economy,” Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Democrats ask Pompeo to recuse himself from Ukraine matters Bureau of Land Management staff face relocation or resignation as agency moves west Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows MORE (N.M.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee subcommittee responsible for the EPA, said in a statement.

“Together, we rejected the Trump administration’s proposal to make massive and dangerous budget cuts, and instead, we restored funding for the EPA,” Udall said.

The funding level represents a victory for Democrats, who had argued that Trump’s cuts would be disastrous. But much of the GOP also opposed the 31 percent proposed cut.

The bill includes a handful of new policy provisions for the EPA, including one to exempt farms from having to report their air pollution to the EPA and a requirement that the agency treat wood burning as a carbon-neutral and renewable electricity source.

But the legislation also avoided a number of other policy riders that had Republican support or were in previous versions of the legislation.

Lawmakers removed a provision that would have let the EPA skip the usual regulatory processes like gathering public comment as it works to repeal the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule.

In addition to the $8.1 billion for EPA in the main section of the bill, lawmakers tacked on an additional $763 million in another part of the bill for various EPA programs related to water infrastructure and to cleaning up polluted Superfund sites.