House Republicans on Friday approved a bill that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget by nearly 40%.
The funding bill, approved by a vote of 213-203, cuts 39 percent of the EPA’s budget, making it the smallest budget the agency has had in 30 years.
Republicans have long complained that the agency has gone too far in tackling pollution, pollution and climate change.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the subcommittee that authored the bill, said it characterizes funding cuts needed to control inflation and the national debt.
“Reducing funding is never easy or pretty, but with the national debt exceeding $33 trillion and inflation at unacceptable levels, we must make tough choices to rein in federal spending,” Simpson said on the floor Thursday. I was forced to do so,” he said.
The massive funding cuts proposed by Republicans have virtually no chance of passing in this year’s budget, but they are a starting point for Republicans as they seek to negotiate with Democrats in the Senate over government funding. becomes.
The bill is one of 12 annual government funding bills that Republicans had hoped to pass by a Nov. 17 deadline to prevent a government shutdown. But Republicans face the challenge of maintaining unity on spending as they aim to approve the remaining five bills within a tight deadline.
In addition to major cuts to the EPA, the Republican bill would also cancel provisions of the climate change, tax and health care bill passed by Democrats last year. Targets funding aimed at supporting underserved communities in the fight against climate change and pollution.
It also seeks to defund EPA efforts to reduce toxic pollution and global warming emissions and prevent the agency from using funds to enforce rules on power plants.
Rep. Cherry Pingree (Maine), the top Democrat on the Interior and Environmental Finance subcommittee, said the bill “undermines America’s ability to address the climate crisis and cripples the agencies within its jurisdiction.” Stated.
“I urge my colleagues to protect the world you are leaving for your children and grandchildren and oppose this bill,” she said.
The bill would also make cuts to the Department of the Interior, though less dramatic, cutting funding there by about 4.5 percent. The National Park Service would receive an even bigger cut of 13 percent.
The bill would also require the administration to pursue drilling off the coast of Alaska, although the administration currently has no plans to offer new oil lease sales. It would require the government to auction the rights to drill for oil in the region at least twice a year, as well as require oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico region twice a year.
The bill differs significantly from its Senate counterpart, which calls for a total of $7 billion more in funding than the bill passed by the House and approved by committee with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year. .
This comes in part because House Republicans announced this summer that they would increase government funding for fiscal year 2024 by less than the budget cap deal struck between President Biden and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). This difference is natural.
Hardline conservatives were trying to increase pressure on Republican leaders for further spending cuts.
The bill was expected to include billions of dollars in additional cuts as part of a late-summer intraparty deal aimed at locking down support from hard-line conservatives. Mr. Simpson was among the spending cardinals who expressed dissatisfaction with the pressure campaign by hardliners at the time.
But Simpson and other top appropriators have signaled in recent days that conservatives intend to give House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) breathing room to make even deeper cuts to the funding law. He told The Hill that he is backing away from his previous plans to do so. Room where spending negotiations are being held.
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