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 TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies 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 UdallDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Republicans should get behind the 28th Amendment New Mexico says EPA abandoned state in fight against toxic 'forever chemicals' 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.