The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled its proposal for fiscal year 2014 funding for environmental programs. The draft bill would provide $31 billion for the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and related agencies. This is $6 billion more than the plan released by the House panel in July.

The House and Senate bills propose very different funding levels for federal science programs. For instance, the EPA would receive 50 percent more funding under the Senate spending plan than the House plan. The difference between the plans is about $128 million for the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Senate would increase funding for the agency by about two percent, whereas the House would cut USGS funding by nine percent.

Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would have been slashed by 80 percent in the original House plan. A bipartisan duo of Representatives successfully offered an amendment to increase funding by $150 million to a total of $210 million. The increase would be offset by extending a program that sells helium. By comparison, the Senate proposes essentially level funding for the initiative.

The budget cuts recommended in the House bill caused significant strife at an Appropriations Committee mark-up on 31 July 2013. The panel debated numerous amendments before halting the mark-up. The Committee will not resume consideration of the bill until after the congressional recess ends in early September.


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