Text for Several Government Funding Bills Released  


Yesterday, congressional leaders released the text for a legislative package that includes six of the 12 annual appropriations bills:  Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The funding levels in the bill are consistent with the debt limit deal reached last year and avoids the deep funding cuts proposed by the House Republicans--which bodes well for the remaining agencies' bills.

The funding agreement contains a significant win for NTEU’s wildland firefighters. Passage of this legislation would mean a continuation of the increased pay authority provided under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will give Congress more time to permanently address wildland firefighter pay without sending current firefighters over the “pay cliff.”

In addition to funding wildland firefighter pay, the legislation would fund the Department of Interior at $14.8 billion, with the National Park Service receiving $3.3 billion and the Bureau of Land Management seeing $1.4 billion. These figures would protect existing staffing levels to ensure Interior agencies have the personnel they need to fulfill their agency's missions.

The funding measure continues to invest in NTEU-represented agencies by providing over $50 billion in total funding for the Department of Energy, $9.1 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, and $137 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

NTEU is pleased that this bill continues the bipartisan practice of allowing PTO to keep all of its fee collections to fund the agency.  We are also pleased for USDA that it provides adequate resources and does not include proposals to limit efforts for equal employment opportunities or relocate personnel. 

NTEU is concerned with the funding levels for FDA and CFTC which are inadequate for the important missions of these agencies. The bill splits the difference between President Biden’s budget, which asked for needed increases in funding for FDA and CFTC, and the House Republican demand that these agencies have their funding cut even if that caused RIFs and furloughs.  The bill would freeze but not cut CFTC funding while providing FDA with only a $20 million increase.

Government funding is set to expire Friday night, March 8, for several NTEU agencies unless Congress passes this funding package. It is expected that the House will vote on the bill on Wednesday, with the Senate to follow. However, procedural issues could take time for the Senate to act.  Congressional leaders are still negotiating over the remaining six funding bills, which are set to expire on March 22.

While it appears that Congress is on track to avoid a partial government shutdown this week, we must all remain engaged to ensure Congress acts in time and provides agencies with the funding necessary to meet their missions.  Click here to learn more.