WASHINGTON – Last month, the House of Representatives advanced its 12 spending bills through a rigorous process of hearings and committee negotiations. Led by House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills include some significant investments for bird restoration, climate action, and community resilience. Building upon positive increases recommended by President Biden, the House bills were split into two packages, or minibuses. The first minibus, including funding for agencies like the EPA, USDA, and DOE, recently passed off the floor and now awaits movement from the Senate, which has not yet released any FY23 appropriations text.
Federal agencies responsible for bird conservation, habitat restoration, and resource management – like the Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, United States Geological Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – all rely on annual discretionary funding appropriated through the 12 distinct spending bills. As a reminder, 12 appropriations subcommittees – with similar jurisdiction in the House and Senate – preside over the 12 bills:
- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies
- Financial Services and General Government
- Homeland Security
- Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Legislative Branch
- Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
The National Audubon Society annually publishes a Bird Budget, which outlines our recommendations and expectations for funding the federal projects and programs that ensure birds and communities are thriving. We applaud the critical work accomplished by the House Subcommittees to ensure that clean energy research, equity initiatives to help disadvantaged communities, and land and water conservation programs receive the funding they need.
As negotiations for FY23 funding continue, Audubon urges Congressional leaders to ensure conservation and community programs receive the funding increases needed to address the multiple, interconnected crises facing birds and people. Two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change, which is exacerbating wildfires, extreme storms, sea-level rise, and drought across the country.
These climate threats are disproportionally impacting historically marginalized communities, further magnifying economic inequalities. Increased federal funding for environment and conservation programs, climate action and clean energy efforts, and community resilience and public health is critical to moving our country forward and bringing birds back.