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What’s in the First Tranche of FY24 Appropriations Text?

Over the weekend, the text of the first tranche of Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations was released. The bill provides sustained FY24 funding for 6 accounts: Military Construction-Veterans Affairs; Agriculture-FDA; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Energy and Water Development; Interior and Environment; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.


The House and Senate Appropriations committees highlight markedly different achievements in the bill. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) notes full funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), investments in new air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors, rental assistance protections, and pay raises for federal firefighters and funding for wildfire suppression. While few programs saw funding increases, the Senate majority points out that the bill “protects” the funding levels from last year – making the avoidance of cuts a highlight.


In the House, Chair Kay Granger (D-TX) takes a different approach. The House bill summary posits that the package “will save taxpayers more than $200 billion over the next ten years” and that by spending $100 billion (9%) less than President Biden’s budget request, the package represents “the first overall cut to non-defense, non-VA spending in almost a decade.” Specifically, the House majority points out a 6% cut to the FBI’s budget (including a 95% cut to the agency’s construction fund) and a 10% cut to the EPA’s funding. At the same time, the House bill provides additional funding to combat human trafficking.


The Interior and Environment bill provides $1.923 billion for the Department of Interior – $31 million below the FY23 enacted level. This includes $135.3 million for rural water projects and prioritized investments in projects that increase water supply and support drought response. Although there are notable cuts to the EPA, Bureau of Land management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, the bill does increase funding to the Bureau of Indian Affairs ($15.6 million increase) and Office of Wildland Fire ($450 million discretionary increase). The Act also includes an additional $350 million in cap-adjusted fire suppression funding, if necessary.


On the economic development front, the Commerce, Justice, and Science text provides $468 million for the Economic Development Administration – $30 million below the FY23 enacted level and $336 million below the President’s budget request. This includes explicit funding for the Regional Technology Hubs program, but no funding for the also authorized Recompete pilot program.

After months of concerns as to whether earmarks would be included in the FY24 appropriations package, stakeholders will be pleased to see that they’ve been preserved – a relief in what’s been a difficult funding landscape.


What comes next? After another continuing resolution that pushed the dates of both funding tranches, Congress has until Friday to pass the resolution providing funding for the first tranche. Congress then has until March 22 to pass a second resolution to fund the remaining 6 accounts – Defense; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor and HHS; Legislative Branch; and State and Foreign Operations. Passing the remaining 6 bills by March 22 will be a tall 0rder, as these bills represent what many policymakers consider to be more controversial programs and 70% of government funding.


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