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House and Senate Appropriators Remain Far Apart on Fiscal Year 2024 Budgets

August 25, 2023

Congressional appropriators remain where they were earlier this summer regarding budgets that affect environmental health. Not much movement on the appropriation budgets for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has occurred since the appropriation subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed their budgets in June and July.

These budgets must pass out of their respective subcommittees before being adopted by the full Appropriations Committee, and then the entire House. Once the House passes its version, the budget goes to the Senate to be rectified with their version. Needless to say, we have a long way to go.

And the clock is ticking—both the House and Senate need to agree on the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget before September 30 or the government will shut down. If an agreement is not made, a continuing resolution will need to be passed to keep the government open.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee passed a budget cutting CDC by $1.6 billion. The budget funds the National Center for Environmental Health within CDC at only $130 million, down from $246 million in the FY 2023 budget.

U.S. EPA suffered even deeper cuts. The full House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, which reduces the budget for U.S. EPA to $6.2 billion, down from $10.1 billion in FY 2023. Many programs, including climate change and environmental justice, will be eliminated. Clean air will be reduced by $101 million and enforcement by $141 million.

The House Appropriations Committee also passed the FY 2024 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Ag/FDA) Bill in June. The bill is awaiting passage by the full House before going to the Senate. It contains budget cuts but not as severe as seen in the other FY 2024 budgets.

House Appropriators wanted to pass the Ag/FDA Bill out of the full House and send it to the Senate before the August recess. They were unable, however, to resolve several concerns among the members including overall funding levels, work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and restrictions on the mailing of abortion pills.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed in late July all 12 appropriations bills, including bills for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Ag/FDA. The Senate will need to wait for the final appropriations bills from the House before resolving the differences between the two sets of budgets.

President Biden also has weighed in on the Ag/FDA budget. The Office of Management and Budget has issued a Statement of Administration Policy on the FY 2024 Ag/FDA Bill, noting its reservations and stating that the President would veto the House-passed version of the bill.

Unlike previous budget negotiations, if the two chambers do not agree on budget amounts for all 12 budgets—nor agree to a continuing resolution—the FY 2024 budget will revert to FY 2023 levels with a 1% decrease to all budgets, including defense. This potential decrease provides an incentive for both parties in the House and Senate to come to an agreement on the funding levels for FY 2024.

For more information, contact Government Affairs Director Doug Farquhar.