House appropriators reject Trump's EPS budget cuts

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) told Pruitt that the proposed budget cut is "untenable" and that it would overly compromise the agency's ability to serve their constituents.
By Paul Pate | Jun 20, 2017
President Trump's intent to cut the EPA's budget 30% is not getting a welcome reception in Congress, where even some House Republicans are now saying that it goes too far. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt advocated for his boss's drastic budget-cut proposal at a House hearing Friday, only to be told by a bipartisan group of appropriators that they will toss the proposal aside when they finalize their Interior-Environment spending bill.

"I can assure you, you'll be the first EPA administrator who has come before this committee in eight years that gets more money than you've asked for," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told Pruitt.

Cole wasn't the only GOP dissenter. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) told Pruitt that the proposed budget cut is "untenable" and that it would overly compromise the agency's ability to serve their constituents.

"Proposed cuts of this magnitude put agencies and important tasks at risk," Calvert said. "In many instances the budget proposes to significantly reduce or eliminate programs that are vitally important to each member on this subcommittee."

The lawmakers were responding to Pruitt's testimony, in which the Trump appointee argued that the agency could carry out its mission with a "trimmed budget" and better management. He encouraged them to comply with Trump's request to appropriate only $5.7 billion to the EPA, which is $2.4 billion less than the $8.1 billion the agency received in the fiscal-year 2017 omnibus bill. This budget cut would eliminate a quarter of the agency's workforce.

Pruitt told the lawmakers that the reduced EPA could delegate more responsibilities for environmental oversight to the states. But lawmakers noted that the states are not getting any increased revenue for environmental programs, either.

"I don't know how we can expect states to take on more of EPA's responsibilities without money," Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., told Pruitt.

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