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House passes bill with massive cut to EPA

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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House this morning passed legislation to slash budgets at EPA and the Interior Department in one of the GOP's most drastic spending bills to date.

Why it matters: A nearly 40 percent cut to EPA's budget for fiscal 2024 won't bode well for negotiations with the Senate, and debate this week showed GOP divisions over slashing the budget even further.

Driving the news: The House passed its fiscal 2024 Interior-EPA approps bill 213-203.

  • EPA would get just $6.2 billion — nearly $4 billion below fiscal 2023 levels.
  • It proposes a relatively modest cut at Interior to $14.3 billion.
  • Like other Republican spending bills, it also contains a mountain of policy riders blocking Biden regulations and peeling back the IRA.
  • It would rescind more than $1 billion in environmental justice money and block the Waters of the United States rule.

Of note: House Republicans approved some new cuts and policy provisions through the floor amendment process, including a proposal from Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman to reduce the Council on Environmental Quality's budget to $1 million.

  • Other amendments adopted would block Biden's climate executive orders and CEQ's NEPA regulations.
  • The GOP also put a big target on environmental justice. They approved one amendment from Rep. Chip Roy that would block all spending on EJ activites.

Yes, but: Lawmakers also rejected some proposals to cut more from agency budgets and dock pay for individual officials.

  • One proposal from Rep. Harriet Hageman would have halved funding for the Bureau of Land Management. It was rejected 144-280.
  • Republicans also kicked consideration of their transportation spending bill into next week.

What we're watching: EPA is probably headed for some kind of cut if Congress eventually gets a spending deal.

  • The Senate's bipartisan version of this bill would fund Interior at $15.6 billion but would give EPA $9.9 billion — slightly below its current annual budget.
  • As Republicans will point out, however, both agencies got a large tranche of money in the IRA.
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