United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies is one of twelve subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. It was formerly known as the Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, but was renamed to reflect its jurisdiction over funding for federal environmental programs, and to more closely align the subcommittee with its counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee. The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations has joint jurisdiction with the United States House Committee on Appropriations over all appropriations bills in the United States Congress. Each committee has 12 matching subcommittees, each of which is tasked with working on one of the twelve annual regular appropriations bills. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the budget for the United States Department of the Interior and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Traditionally, after a federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year has been passed, the appropriations subcommittees receive information about what the budget sets as their spending ceilings. This is called "302(b) allocations" after section 302(b) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. That amount is separated into smaller amounts for each of the twelve Subcommittees. The federal budget does not become law and is not signed by the President. Instead, it is guide for the House and the Senate in making appropriations and tax decisions. However, no budget is required and each chamber has procedures in place for what to do without one. The House and Senate now consider appropriations bills simultaneously, although originally the House went first. The House Committee on Appropriations usually reports the appropriations bills in May and June and the Senate in June. Any differences between appropriations bills passed by the House and the Senate are resolved in the fall.
An appropriations bill is a bill that appropriates (gives to, sets aside for) money to specific federal government departments, agencies, and programs. The money provides funding for operations, personnel, equipment, and activities. Regular appropriations bills are passed annually, with the funding they provide covering one fiscal year. The fiscal year is the accounting period of the federal government, which runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year.
There are three types of appropriations bills: regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental appropriations bills. Regular appropriations bills are the twelve standard bills that cover the funding for the federal government for one fiscal year and that are supposed to be enacted into law by October 1. If Congress has not enacted the regular appropriations bills by the time, it can pass a continuing resolution, which continues the pre-existing appropriations at the same levels as the previous fiscal year (or with minor modifications) for a set amount of time. The third type of appropriations bills are supplemental appropriations bills, which add additional funding above and beyond what was originally appropriated at the beginning of the fiscal year. Supplemental appropriations bills can be used for things like disaster relief.
Appropriations bills are one part of a larger United States budget and spending process. They are preceded in that process by the president's budget proposal, congressional budget resolutions, and the 302(b) allocation. Article One of the United States Constitution, section 9, clause 7, states that "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law..." This is what gives Congress the power to make these appropriations. The President, however, still has the power to veto appropriations bills.
This subcommittee has jurisdiction over all Department of Interior discretionary spending (except the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) as well as the funding for the U.S. Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture. They oversee Native American programs, including the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Finally, the subcommittee oversees independent agencies of the federal government, including the Environmental Protection Agency and several cultural and historical agencies such as the Smithsonian Institution.
The subcommittee previously had responsibility for several Department of Energy fossil energy programs, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Those programs were consolidated with the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee in 2005.
- Tollestrup, Jessica (23 February 2012). "The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- Tollestrup, Jessica (23 February 2012). "The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Heniff Jr., Bill (26 November 2012). "Basic Federal Budgeting Terminology" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Tollestrup, Jessica (23 February 2012). "The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Tollestrup, Jessica (23 February 2012). "The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. 13. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Sens. Cochran and Leahy are entitled to sit on any subcommittee as Chair and Ranking Member (respectively) of the full committee, but are designated members of this subcommittee.
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