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Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association Gives Budget Update for USACE

Posted on December 2, 2020

Federal Appropriations Update  

GOOD NEWS THIS MONTH! On November 10th, the U.S. Senate (Senate) released their draft Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (E&W Bill) including over $7.72 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). As reported previously, the U.S. House of Representatives (House) approved over $7.63 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program in their passage of H.R. 7617 on July 31st. The next step is for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to work together to identify a compromise conference bill for consideration by the two Congressional bodies. How do the two bills compare?

Top Line Numbers:
Overall USACE Allocation: Administration – $5.96 Billion, House – $7.63 Billion, Senate – $7.72 Billion
Operations & Maintenance (Where the AIWW is funded): House – $3.84 Billion, Senate – $3.78 Billion

State Allocations:
The House and Senate don’t have the ability to directly add money to any state as it would constitute an earmark. This year, Congress didn’t change the individual allocations included in the Administration’s Budget. They are listed below:

VA – $685,000 for Dismal Swamp Canal & $1.262 million for the Albemarle-Chesapeake Canal
NC – $3.625 million
SC – $100,000
GA – $202,000
FL – $380,000
Total for AIWW – $6.254 million
NJIWW – $1.245 million

Additional Dredging Needs Funding Pots:
The House and Senate also included the following mini-pots for Additional Dredging Needs where we can compete for additional funding for AIWW projects this coming year. In our advocacy efforts, we asked that the mini-pots include $75 million each, which was a larger request than we had previously made or historically received.

1. Navigation: House – $5.7 Billion, Senate – $44.6 Million. The House number included $5+ billion extra for economic recovery efforts due to COVID and was not expected to be in the Senate version. The FY20 amount was $40.156 Million.
2. Inland Waterways: House – $55 Million, Senate – $70 Million. The FY20 amount was $55 Million.
3. Small, Remote or Subsistence Navigation: House – $65 Million, Senate – $65 Million. The FY20 amount was $65 Million.

Looking ahead, the current funding for the federal government ends on December 11th. It is possible, but unknown, if Congress will develop and agree to a FY21 E&W Appropriation Bill prior to this deadline. The good news is that the House and Senate Appropriators have agreed on top line numbers for each of the Appropriation Bills so negotiations can get underway in earnest, however time is short in this legislative session. The three main options are to agree to pass another continuing resolution until the new year with the new Congress and Administration, pass an omnibus bill where they package more than one appropriation bill in a bundle and pass them together, or pass a standalone E&W Bill. It is more likely that Congress will either pass a continuing resolution or an omnibus bill that includes the E&W bill.  As we learn more, we will continue to keep our membership informed.

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