WASHINGTON (April 28, 2005) -- By a vote of 52-47 in the Senate and 214-211 in the House of Representatives, Congress agreed to a $2.6 trillion budget resolution that would cut critical funding for domestic programs. Just as with President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal year 2006, environmental programs stand to take one of the biggest hits from Congress, which has proposed a cut of $3.3 billion (or 10.6 percent) compared to last year's spending levels on the environment.
"Even while offering up billions of dollars in tax breaks to energy companies and speculating on hypothetical revenues from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge, Congress is cooking up a budget that short-changes environmental protection," said Wesley Warren, deputy director of NRDC's Advocacy Center.
According to Warren, one of the key programs targeted for big cuts is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which helps communities upgrade sewage treatment plants and improve water infrastructure through low-interest loans. The budget resolution also opens the door for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, Warren notes that the budget resolution is just a blueprint. Congress still must endure a long and tricky reconciliation process that, for four straight years, has failed to produce a final budget.
"Having no budget would be better than one that threatens clean water and paves the way for drilling in the Arctic Refuge," added Warren.