Budget Deal Keeps EPA Fully Funded — For Now

May 3rd, 2017 by Trey Barrineau

On Monday, Congress released a $1.017 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through September. The bill, which must be approved by Friday to avoid a government shutdown, doesn’t feature the deep cuts that President Trump had pushed for in the budget proposal he released in March. That plan called for drastic reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget and other programs that affect the window film industry. 

President Trump said on Monday that he’d sign the budget legislation if it passes.

It’s still possible that many of the deep cuts Trump sought for 2018 could still be enacted later this year, but after Democratic and Republican lawmakers ironed out a bill rejecting much of his spending agenda, that might prove difficult.

“Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era spending bill than a Trump one,” according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

Congress is expected to begin debate on next year’s budget in the coming weeks, and the 2018 fiscal year doesn’t begin until October, when another government shutdown could be on the horizon.

Here’s a look at how the current spending bill affects agencies that influence the window film industry:

Department of Energy

The budget Congress released on Monday provides $30.8 billion for the Department of Energy. Trump had requested a budget of $28 billion.

The Advance Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which funds research into window film retrofit projects, will receive more than $300 million. Trump’s plan would have eliminated it. There are currently 13 projects run by universities, research labs and private companies that have received funding from ARPA-E’s SHIELD Program. A majority of these projects involve window films or coatings that can be applied to existing windows.

Environmental Protection Agency

Trump wanted to reduce the EPA’s funding by 31 percent. Instead, Congress is presenting a budget that only trims the agency’s budget by about 1 percent, to $8.06 billion, with no reductions in staffing.

The appropriations bill doesn’t say anything about Energy Star, which the Trump administration wants to eliminate, but the program appears to be safe for now.

“We are still working through future plans for the Energy Star program,” said EPA spokesperson Liz Bowerman in an e-mail to Window Film magazine. “EPA will continue to find ways to partner with stakeholders in the private sector to innovate, improve our environment and strengthen our economy.”

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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