A bill approved Wednesday by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee funds the Appalachian Regional Commission, which has provided money for the Oak Ridge Airport project. The legislation does not include money to shut down the commission, as the Trump administration has proposed.
The budget request submitted to Congress by President Donald Trump in May proposed eliminating the Appalachian Regional Commission and other independent agencies, providing funding only for the orderly closure of the agencies. The request would apply to fiscal year 2018, which starts October 1.
The Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC, is one of several independent agencies that award federal grants for regional development, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget said earlier this year. “The proposed elimination of the regional commissions reflects the need to reduce unnecessary federal spending and streamline the federal government’s role, while encouraging states and localities to partner with the private sector to develop locally tailored solutions to local problems,” the OMB said.
But an energy and water appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee in a voice vote on Wednesday does not include money to shut down the ARC.
Instead, the House bill, if approved, would cut ARC funding from $152 million in fiscal year 2017 to $130 million in fiscal year 2018. The Trump administration had proposed $26.6 million, to be used only for the shutdown.
The Oak Ridge Airport project has received $2 million in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission. That money wouldn’t be affected by the president’s proposal to eliminate the independent agency, an airport spokesperson said in May.
But future project funding could be affected by a decision to close the commission. [Read more…]