President Donald Trump today unveiled a $4.8 trillion FY 2021 budget proposal that slashes funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The budget request, which includes just $7.1 million for the Bay Program, comes just weeks after the President signed a bipartisan agreement to boost its funding from $73 million in 2019 to $85 million this year.
The Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates the science and modeling that drive restoration efforts, provides state grants for cleanup programs, and puts boots on the ground to support anti-pollution initiatives.
Governor Larry Hogan, chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, vowed to “lead a bipartisan effort to restore this funding.”
According to Governor Hogan:
“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure, and our administration has committed $6 billion, the most ever in history, to restoration efforts.
“Maryland is leading the charge to safeguard the Bay—we are simply asking our federal partners to keep up their share. At his confirmation hearing, the EPA administrator said: ‘I am very much committed to the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Program.’ Instead, the Trump administration recklessly and repeatedly proposes gutting Chesapeake Bay funding.
“As chairman of the six-state regional commission, the Chesapeake Executive Council, I will again lead a bipartisan effort to restore this funding. While the Trump administration continues to turn its back on the Bay, we will keep fighting to protect one of our most precious natural assets.”
Congressional budgets are very unlike those at the Maryland state level, where the Congress (in particular the House of Representatives) has great latitude to craft its own spending plans, regardless of the initial proposals from the president. While the state uses what is often referenced as an “Executive Budget” system, where the General Assembly may cut but not add funding, the federal government’s budget process is more legislatively-driven.
Debate on the budget plan, and the multiple appropriations bills that represent the federal budget, will extend for months.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.