President Donald Trump’s first proposed federal budget would reduce spending in several agencies that “have a significant impact on the recreational boating industry,” the National Marine Manufacturers Association said today.
The FY2018 budget, if enacted, would offset a 10 percent increase in defense spending to $603 billion with a 10 percent decrease in non-defense discretionary spending to $462 billion.
The latter figure includes a $1.5 billion decrease for the Department of the Interior, an 11.7 percent cut; a $1 billion cut for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is a 16.3 percent decrease; and a reduction of $2.6 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a 31.4 percent cut.
“The NMMA understands the fiscal climate facing our nation and the need for some streamlining of agency programs for efficiencies. We look forward to working with the administration and our members on Capitol Hill to ensure a final budget prioritizes outdoor recreation and the boating economy,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.
“Even in limited fiscal times, prioritizing boating and the outdoors will pay dividends for the American economy,” Dammrich said. “We must invest in our federal lands and waters and ensure recreational access and conservation of our nation’s treasured resources.”
The Interior Department is responsible for managing branches that affect the boating community, including the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“These departments are integral to providing boating access within the National Park System, promoting fish habitat restoration, and the disbursement of dollars to state agencies through the $600 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund,” the NMMA said.
The budget proposal recommends eliminating more than 50 EPA programs and grants. Cuts to the EPA could affect clean water programs throughout the country, monitoring point and non-point pollution sources in fresh and salt water, Great Lakes restoration, the Chesapeake Bay restoration, invasive species and emission levels and standards.
The budget proposal also eliminates a beach monitoring program that monitors water quality and bacterial concentrations and has the authority to close beaches if they adversely affect human health.
The budget proposes increased investment in water infrastructure systems, including $2.3 billion to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, a $4 million increase, or roughly 2 percent, from 2017 levels. It also would fund the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program at $20 million, level with the amount provided in 2017 through the continuing resolution last December.
The budget proposes to strengthen the International Trade Administration’s trade enforcement and compliance abilities, including related to anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, while “rescaling” its activities related to analyzing trade and promoting exports.
“Reorganizing the ITA and eliminating the U.S. Trade and Development Agency could be problematic for export and development programs NMMA supports, including our partnership with the International Buyers Program,” the NMMA said.
Although the budget blueprint is the administration’s first fiscal proposal, it will face scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where bipartisan support is required for final passage.