Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By David Schultz
Dec. 3 — Policy riders on environmental and other issues are causing negotiations over an upcoming omnibus spending bill to stall, casting into doubt whether Congress will be able to clear the bill before government funding expires Dec. 11.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, told Bloomberg BNA that her party rejected a draft version of the omnibus bill that Republicans proposed because it contained too many riders.
Some of these riders would block the EPA from implementing several new environmental regulations on water, ozone and climate change, while other riders would affect gun control policy or the status of Syrian refugees.
McCollum said this draft proposal from the Republicans contained even more riders than were in an EPA funding bill her subcommittee reported out earlier this year (H.R. 2822), which ultimately died on the House floor after a dispute over the display of the Confederate flag (46 ER 2082, 7/10/15).
She said Democrats have submitted an alternative proposal for the omnibus that is free of the most controversial riders, putting the ball back in the Republicans' court.
On the Republican side, top-ranking appropriators in both the House and the Senate told Bloomberg BNA that it is still unclear whether an omnibus bill will be introduced on Dec. 7, as was expected by many congressional staffers earlier this week.
If the bill is introduced later than that date, there may not be enough time to get it through procedural hurdles in both chambers before the Dec. 11 funding deadline, which could trigger a government shutdown.
McCollum said the Republican leadership is beginning to talk about passing a second temporary continuing resolution to extend the funding deadline and buy more time to negotiate, but she said Democrats would likely only agree to extending the deadline by no more than one week.
The federal government is operating under a temporary funding resolution that was passed Sept. 30 by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hours before the end of the 2015 fiscal year (46 ER 2956, 10/2/15).
In addition to disagreements over riders, Republicans and Democrats have still not come to an agreement over how much funding the EPA should receive for the remainder of the 2016 fiscal year.
Congress reached a new budget agreement on Oct. 30 that provided more funding for the federal government than was in prior iterations of spending bills that were reported out of appropriations committees earlier this year.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), McCollum's Republican counterpart on her House Appropriations subcommittee, told Bloomberg BNA that the two sides are “pretty close on the numbers side.”
However, Calvert declined to say whether the EPA will receive more funding in the omnibus than was included in H.R. 2822 from earlier this year.Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the EPA, said disputes over environmental provisions in the omnibus are proving to be some of the most difficult to resolve in these expansive negotiations over the must-pass federal spending legislation.
“Everybody is working as fast as they can,” she told Bloomberg BNA. “There's not a lot of time left on the calendar. But as long as everybody keeps talking, that's a good sign.”
To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)