OMB directs departments to cut Fiscal 2013 budget requests

Aug 26, 2011
by DTN

White House budget officials have directed federal departments and agencies to find ways to set their Fiscal Year 2013 budget requests as much as 10 percent below current spending levels, with some priority programs getting additional funding.

In a recent memo to executive branch units, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said requests for discretionary appropriations for FY 2013, which begins Oct. 1, 2012, should be at least 5 percent below what departments and agencies received for FY 2011 unless they have been given specific direction otherwise. They were also asked to identify additional cuts that would put their requests 10 percent below the current level.

The memo from OBM Director Jacob Lew also called on agencies to identify programs that deserve more money.

Farm and ranch interests will be watching closely to see how Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack finds the budget cuts for his department. Some worry that he again will target crop insurance, but others say that is an unlikely move ahead of a major farm bill debate. Other options could include reducing number of

Farm Service Agency county offices and personnel, and further cuts in the number of the department’s statistical and economic reports. OMB guidelines could take big bite out of EPA’s FY 2013 budget The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget in Fiscal Year 2013 could drop as low as the amount allocated during Fiscal 2007 under budget guidelines issued last week by the White House OMB.

Under OMB’s guidelines, EPA could receive as much as $8.25 billion in Fiscal 2013, based on a 5 percent cut, or as little as $7.81 billion, with a 10 percent reduction. The agency received $8.68 billion for Fiscal 2011, and $10.3 billion in Fiscal 2010. Its funding level was $7.6 billion in 2009, $7.4 billion in 2008, and $7.7 billion in 2007.

The 10 percent option likely would please Republican critics of the agency who have tried to achieve a similar de-funding of EPA through the annual appropriations process. Under the Fiscal 2012 budget proposal from the Republican-controlled House, EPA would receive roughly $7.1 billion, or 18 percent less than currently enacted levels.