Omnibus Bill Gives Corps of Engineers $6 Billion in FY16 for Water Resources Program

December 16, 2015

Division D of the omnibus appropriations package for FY 2016 contains the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which funds the water resources program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The joint explanatory statement for Division D can be read here.

The omnibus bill provides $5.99 billion for the Corps in FY 2016, a half-billion more than last year and significantly more than either the House or Senate version of the legislation (both of which were drafted before the Bipartisan Budget Act gave an extra $25 billion for non-defense discretionary programs this year).


The budget requests of this President or any President for the Corps new construction program (the Investigations account, which studies potential new projects, and the Construction account, which carries them out) are not particularly relevant – Congress loves the Corps, and no matter who the President its, the Office of Management and Budget always resents the fact that the Corps can go around the President’s back and always get Congress to beef up those appropriations. The following table shows that over the last decade, Congress has beefed up the average Investigations budget request by 45 percent and the average Construction budget request by 32 percent – numbers unheard of in almost any other area of the budget.


The explanatory statement also mentions this relating to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund: “The agreement provides funds making use of all estimated annual revenues in the IWTF…Current fiscal year 2016 capability estimates for all ongoing construction projects cost shared with the IWTF total $171,200,000 above the budget request.” It is silent on Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending levels, which are not transparent.

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