The House Appropriations Committee has cleared a fiscal 2003 spending bill that increases aid for the Corps of Engineers and the Dept. of Energy's environmental cleanup work, while freezing the Bureau of Reclamation at the 2002 level.
The measure, approved by voice vote on Sept. 5, rejects President Bush's proposed cuts for the Corps and Reclamation.

House energy and water subcommittee Chairman Callahan

Appropriators allotted $4.7 billion for the Corps' civil works program, up 3% from this year's mark. That amount also is $586 million, or 13%, more than Bush's Corps request. The bill's Corps total includes $1.8 billion for the agency's construction account, a 6% hike over 2002.

Under the legislation, the Bureau of Reclamation would receive $908 million, the same as this year's level, but 7% above the sum Bush proposed.

Lawmakers also recommended $7.5 billion for DOE's environmental restoration and waste management activities, a boost of $345 million, or 5%, from 2002. The total also is about 5% higher than Bush sought.

House energy and water appropriations subcommittee Chairman Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.) says he doesn't expect problems over the bill from the Office and Management and Budget despite the measure's substantially higher funding for the Corps.

Callahan, who is retiring after this year, notes that the bill's $26.5-billion total is less than 1% above what Bush requested. He says the White House allowed Congress to shift funds among various accounts within that overall ceiling.
Callahan notes that the measure does include money for some new Corps construction projects and studies, but doesn't fund any projects that have not been authorized by congressional public works committees.