Moving Forward with Nominations and Appropriations in the 117th Congress

Moving Forward with Nominations and Appropriations in the 117th Congress

By: Kate Walker, Legislative Assistant, Water Strategies, LLC

Since being sworn in on January 20, 2021, President Biden has nominated a number of individuals to positions in a number of agencies. As nominations have been made, the Senate Committees have been holding nomination hearings and confirming the nominees. Below is an updated list of nominated and confirmed positions within the Administration relevant to water users.

Secretary of the Interior: Deb Haaland (D-NM) – confirmed by full Senate March 15

Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner: Maria (Camille) Touton

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science: Tanya Trujillo – officially nominated April 14 and awaits further consideration

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator: Michael Regan – confirmed by the full Senate March 10

Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator: Janet McCabe – confirmed

April 27

Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water: Radhika Fox

Secretary of Energy: Jennifer Granholm – confirmed January 27

Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack – confirmed February 24

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture: Jewel H. Bronaugh – hearing was held April 22 and awaits further consideration by the Senate

Secretary of State: Antony Blinken – confirmed January 26

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works: Mike Connor – nominated on April 27

In addition to nominations, the Biden Administration has been working on a comprehensive budget for FY2021. On April 9, 2021, President Biden released his Discretionary Spending Request. Unlike previous funding requests, the “skinny budget” does not include a breakdown of detailed spending numbers. Below is a breakdown of the request and spending numbers for the FY 2021.



President’s Request




Bureau of Reclamation $1.1 B $1.69 B
Water & Related Resources $979 M $1.5 B
WaterSMART $18.2 M $55 M

Specific funding numbers for the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) were not included in the budget. However, BOR was mentioned and copied in the statement below:

Conserve Western Water. The Bureau of Reclamation supports the development, conservation, management, and restoration of water and related natural resources in the 17 western states and on tribal lands while balancing competing water uses. The discretionary request provides funding for programs, such as WaterSMART grants, to improve water conservation and efficiency. Reclamation investments address challenges resulting from climate change and shifting demographics to support: reliable water and hydropower deliveries; help maintain healthy ecosystems; protect federally-listed species; and manage risks from droughts, floods, and fires.”

It is expected that a more detailed spending request will be released by the Administration by the release of this newsletter. The League continues to work with the Washington delegation to request ample funding for the Columbia Basin Project.

Stay up to date with Project happenings every month.