23 Mar Federal Legislative Updates
On March 10, 2022, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2022, which began on October 1, 2021. Included was $2 million for the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP) in Reclamation’s budget as a result of stakeholder advocacy led by the League. With the return of earmarks last year, The League leveraged annual appropriations requests combined with participation in the earmark process to secure the OGWRP funding. Although the outcome was significantly less than requested, and did not address a number of broader Columbia Basin Project needs, the advocacy effort, nevertheless, yielded results and engaged numerous stakeholders along the way. The League is appreciative of members of our Washington Congressional delegation who were also instrumental in securing the funding.
Release of the President’s budget for fiscal year 2023 has been delayed until late March/early April. However, congressional offices have begun to accept requests for the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bills. This timing coincides with a late March League trip to Washington DC where League representatives will communicate priority needs. Annually, the League makes appropriations requests for the Columbia Basin Project and the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP).
The House Agriculture Committee has begun hearings in preparation for the 2023 Farm Bill. USDA NRCS programs, including the PL 566 program from which the OGWRP Watershed Planning Project recently was awarded a grant, are funded through NRCS. The League will be advocating for funding for NRCS in the 2023 Farm Bill.