An initial FY24 budget request outlined by the White House last week would boost EPA spending to more than $12 billion next year, an increase of $1.9 billion (or 19 percent) above the agency’s FY23 funding level. While the full details of the President’s request have yet to be released, and Republicans in Congress are unlikely to support the dramatic increases proposed by the Biden Administration, the document marks the first step in the FY24 budget process.
Several water policy priorities were referenced in the broad spending outline released last week. For example, the budget request will include more than $4 billion for EPA water infrastructure programs – up from $3 billion in FY23 – while providing funds for all EPA grant programs authorized by the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. The budget proposes to nearly quadruple funds for a pair of grant programs focused on replacing lead service lines and reducing lead in schools, but the documents indicate that the President will request only flat funding for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds.
Other notable aspects of the FY24 budget outline include:
- Repeating last year’s request to give states “the option to use a portion of their LIHEAP funds to provide water bill assistance to low-income households.” Currently, LIHEAP funds may only be used on home energy and weatherization assistance efforts, but a temporary Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) created by Congress in 2020 is scheduled to expire after 2023.
- Roughly $170 million for EPA to continue working toward commitments made in the 2021 PFAS Strategic Roadmap, including increasing knowledge of PFAS impacts on human health and ecological effects; restricting use to prevent PFAS from entering the air, land, and water; and remediating PFAS that have been released into the environment.
President Biden’s full budget request, with detailed programmatic funding levels, is expected to be released in the coming weeks. But House Republicans have already signaled that they consider the proposal to be dead-on-arrival as their spending plan is expected to prioritize discretionary spending cuts. In any case, the House and Senate will eventually develop their own spending plans for EPA and the entire federal government, and the 2024 fiscal year will begin on October 1.