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Still without agreement on any of the 12 appropriations bills necessary to fund the federal government in the 2020 fiscal year, the House and Senate this month approved a monthlong stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government operating through December 20.

Like an earlier continuing resolution that kept the government open when the new fiscal year began on October 1, the latest funding extension will sustain EPA and other federal agencies for the next month at prorated FY19 appropriations levels. In the meantime, lawmakers will attempt to work out a final FY20 spending plan that would provide yearlong appropriations for all departments and agencies. Reports from Capitol Hill say House and Senate negotiators have agreed on topline budgetary figures for each federal spending account, which was a necessary first step before the 12 individual spending bills could be finalized.

House and Senate appropriators have approved their own initial versions of FY20 EPA budget plans, and each would modestly increase funding for the agency. EPA therefore appears well-positioned to avoid a funding cut next year, provided that the budget deal does not reduce available funding for the energy and environment account.