What’s in the FY22 Omnibus: Water Resources Funding

The just-passed fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill contains $8.3 billion in funding for the civil works (a.k.a. water resources) program of the Army Corps of Engineers, a $547 million increase over last year but $317 million less than the House bill and $617 million less than the Senate bill.

Within that amount, $2.05 billion was taken from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, just shy of the total amount allowed by the new Shelby-DeFazio provision that effectively takes a certain amount of HMTF spending “off-budget” every year.

The Appropriations Committees could easily afford to cut back their 2022 spending for the Corps in the regular budget, however, because of the way that the bipartisan infrastructure law (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA) wound up treating the Corps.

With regards to the $184 billion in advance general appropriations provided by the IIJA for the U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, the bill structured the money so that 20 percent of it was made available per year for each of the five years covered by the IIJA. But at the Corps, the authors put $15.0 billion of the $17.1 billion provided to the Corps out in the first year (2022). As a result, the Corps has an almost unfathomable amount of money available in 2022, rendering the cuts of a few hundred million from the original House and Senate numbers in the regular budget almost unnoticeable.

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