This week marks the third Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by Congress for FY 2017 to continue funding the government, but only temporarily. As you may recall, a larger “omnibus” spending package (or collection of several smaller approved appropriations bills) could not be agreed upon by the September 31 deadline. A CR was put into place to fund the government through the beginning of December. Then it got punted once again until April 28. With that deadline looming, Congress has now agreed to an additional one week CR through May 5.
The hope is to finally pass a “clean” FY 2017 budget and approve funding through the end of this September so attention can turn to the FY 2018 budget. Once finalized, we will share the approved FY 2017 funding levels of key priorities with you via our upcoming Advocacy Insider. However, we anticipate a challenging road ahead as FY 2018 proposals are now looming, including President Trump’s “skinny” (slim outline) FY 2018 budget released in March.
Of particular concern will be the nitty gritty of the details of the President’s full budget, the details of which are expected at some point in mid-May. Larger cuts to non-defense discretionary programs and administrative funds for federal agencies have already been identified, but the full budget may also attempt to tackle entitlement reform as well.
Key to park and recreation policy priorities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces a 31 percent overall budget cut and the following programs would be eliminated:
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
- TIGER Grants
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers
- AmeriCorps and VISTA
- EPA and NOAA Environmental Education grant programs
We know that our best strategy to fighting back against proposals to cut funding is to demonstrate to Members of Congress how vital our programs are and the significant impact they are having on the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. Inviting Members to visit local parks when they are home this summer will be one of the best ways to showcase firsthand all of the great work being done on the ground.
To get started, use the Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit, our step-by-step guide to inviting your members of Congress to see your parks and programs first-hand.