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Corps of Engineers: Biden budget proposes sharp cuts

March 28, 2022   Congressional Quarterly

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Corps of Engineers: Biden budget proposes sharp cuts

March 28, 2022 – 3:37 p.m. By Jessica Wehrman, CQ


President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal would slash funding for the Army Corps of Engineers by roughly 20 percent, giving the corps $6.6 billion in contrast to the $8.3 billion it received in the spending bill approved by Congress earlier this month.


That measure (PL 117-103) included $2.49 billion for the construction of commercial navigation, flood and storm damage reduction and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects. Biden this year asks for $1.22 billion for construction — a 51 percent reduction.


The Biden budget would decrease operation and maintenance dollars to $2.6 billion after an infusion last year from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Including dollars from that trust fund that were released last year as well as last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law (PL 117-58), that account received $4.57 billion, including the $2.049 billion in the trust fund. 


The proposal also includes $225 million for the Mississippi River and its tributaries — a 39 percent reduction from the $370 million Congress approved for fiscal 2022. 


Still, Michael L. Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, praised the budget, saying that the proposal, which comes after the bipartisan infrastructure law and the 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (PL  117-43), "continues to focus on investments that yield high economic and environmental returns, while building resilience to climate change, promoting environmental justice and increasing opportunities to work with disadvantaged communities."


The proposal requests $407 million alone for the Florida Everglades restoration project, which provides drinking water for more than 8 million Floridians. It includes $1.7 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which helps in the dredging of U.S. ports and harbors. It would provide  $35 million for flood control and coastal emergencies and $105.9 million for investigations, nearly 30 percent lower than the $143 million Congress approved earlier this month for fiscal 2022.