Fiscal Year 2020 Federal Budget Tracker: State of Play for Cities

Staffers unpacking the President's FY2020 budget proposal.
Staffers unpacking the President's FY2020 budget proposal.

Federal Investment in Cities, Towns and Villages: Fiscal Year 2020 Federal Budget

Last Updated October 7, 2019

Your one stop as a local official to stay up-to-date on the Fiscal Year 2020 federal budget and appropriations process. We are tracking and compiling everything you need to know about the status of the important federal investments in your city.

The President’s FY20 Budget Proposal

The President’s FY20 Budget Proposal, which was released in March, has been rejected by Congress. The Proposal and supplementary material called for deep cuts in overall domestic discretionary spending, and increases in defense and immigration enforcement, including construction of a southern border wall. Under the rejected proposal, funding for most grants to municipal governments, and for other local priorities, would have been cut or eliminated entirely. NLC opposed the President’s Proposal.

The Congressional Budget and Appropriations Process

Congress approved a bipartisan 2 year budget deal in August for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The bipartisan agreement raises overall spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary programs by $321 billion over two years. Funding for domestic programs will increase by 4.5%, or $27 billion, over the FY19 level. The budget deal, which NLC supported, lessens the possibility of another federal government shutdown before the next presidential election. The risk of a shutdown is not entirely eliminated, however, because Congress must still pass the 12 annual appropriations bills. This year, Congress was unable to pass any spending bills by the fiscal year deadline of October 1st. Instead, Congress approved a short term, stopgap funding measure, or Continuing Resolution, to keep the government open and operating until November 21st, by which time Congress must pass the spending bills or another Continuing Resolution to prevent another government shutdown. NLC opposes government shutdowns.

Budget Tracker: Where the Numbers Stand

NLC will be updating the chart below as FY20 spending bills are introduced. Search through the drop-down menus, organized by federal agency below, to find where the numbers currently stand for federal dollars to the programs that matter most to your city.
 

Agriculture

The White House’s proposed FY20 budget cuts approximately 15 percent from the budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture overall with varying impacts to specific programs across the agency. The budget request expands the size of the Rural Utility Service Broadband Grants Program through a proposed extension of the broadband pilot program enacted in a FY18 spending agreement and designates $20M within the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program for addressing the opioid epidemic. However, the budget request also proposes a $4B cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by accounting for savings from a proposed work requirement, stricter eligibility requirements, and a shift from SNAP benefits to federal provision of shelf-stable foods. This is intended to cut $220B from the program over the next ten years.

The House’s Agriculture-Rural Development spending bill increases spending for several categories, highlighted by the significant increase in rural broadband development. SNAP is cut by the House’s proposal by about $2.3B, which is justified by an improving economy. Still, SNAP ensures the economic vitality of municipalities, and this decrease could impact the financial stability of residents. The Agriculture-Rural Development spending bill passed committee in June and passed the full House later in the month as part of a five bill package. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill in September.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
Rural Utilities Service - Water and Waste Disposal Program $1.45B $1.2B for loans, $473M for grants
Rural Utility Service - Broadband Grants Program $30M $30M, plus $200M for pilot program expansion
Section 521 Rental Assistance $1.331B $1.4B
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (mandatory funding) $73.477B $69.1B

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
Rural Utilities Service - Water and Waste Disposal Program $1.45B for loans, $655M for grants $1.4B for loans, $549M for grants
Rural Utility Service - Broadband Grants Program $680M  
Section 521 Rental Assistance $1.375B $1.375B
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (mandatory funding) $71.1B  
Commerce

The president’s budget proposal recommends an overall increase of 9.3% to the FY20 budget for the U.S. Department of Commerce. If enacted, that would result in a funding increase of $1 billion compared to last year, for a total of $12.2 billion. For the most part, the increase is intended to fund growing preparations for the upcoming United States Census. Funding for other city priorities, including the Economic Development Administration, would be eliminated.

Funding tracking for the U.S. Census is unique, in that the Commerce Department estimates that the entire “life-cycle” cost of the 2020 Census will be just shy of $16B. Typically the Census Bureau needs to be appropriated about half of that life cycle on fiscal years ending in “0” to carry out the decennial census, which is why NLC supports $8B for FY20 Census Bureau appropriations.

The current House of Representatives’ commerce budget proposal seeks to increase funding in each category important to cities, villages and towns. Unlike the president’s proposal, the House currently plans to significantly increase the Economic Development Administration's funding, instead of eliminating it. Additionally, the House’s proposal increases spending for the Census Bureau above even NLC’s ask. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies passed it by voice vote on May 17, and the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor 30-22 on May 22.

The Senate is also advancing a bill that is favorable to city programs, with flat or increased funding across the board compared to FY19 funding levels. However, overall funding in the Senate bill is less than the amount proposed by the House.

Sign-On Letters

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
National Telecommunications and Information Administration $39.5M $42.4M
Economic Development Administration $304M Eliminated
Minority Business Development Agency $40M $10M
Manufacturing Extension Partnership $140M >Eliminated
Census Bureau $3.82B + $1.06B in Carry Over from FY18 $7.2B

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
National Telecommunications and Information Administration $42.4M $42.4M
Economic Development Administration $540M $319.5M
Minority Business Development Agency $44M $40M
Manufacturing Extension Partnership $154M $145.5M
Census Bureau $8.45B $7.5B
Environment

The President’s budget for FY20 for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior is similar to ones from prior years with proposed cuts to water infrastructure and land revitalization programs. Importantly, in FY19 Congress preserved and increased funding for important local government programs like the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

The House Interior-Environment spending bill includes increases to local government priorities, as well as funds new grant programs created through America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which passed last year. The Interior-Environment spending bill passed committee in May and passed the full House in June as part of a five bill package. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed it’s version of the bill in September.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Clean Water State Revolving Fund $1.694B $1.119B
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund $1.184B $863M
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) $68M $25M
Brownfields $87M $62M
Superfund $1.092B $1.056B
Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grants N/A N/A
U.S. Department of the Interior
Land and Water Conservation Fund $435M TBD

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Clean Water State Revolving Fund $1.810B $1.638B
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund $1.3B $1.126B
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) $45M $65M
Brownfields $105M $85M
Superfund $1.214B $1.167B
Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grants $1M $1M
U.S. Department of the Interior
Land and Water Conservation Fund $524M TBD
Energy

The President’s FY20 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Energy is similar to ones from prior years with proposed cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Most notably, the President’s budget proposes to eliminate the Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps improve the energy efficiency of low income households. Importantly, in FY19 Congress preserved funding for this program and others within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 

The House Energy-Water appropriations bill increases funding for programs important to cities, towns and villages for including energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The Energy-Water spending bill passed committee in May and passed the full House in June as part of a four bill package. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill in September.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
Weatherization Assistance Program $257M Eliminated
Office of  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy $2.379B $696M
State Energy Program $55M Eliminated

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
Weatherization Assistance Program $290M TBD
Office of  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy $2.651B $2.858B
State Energy Program $70M TBD
Homeland Security

The President’s FY20 proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides $51.7B in net discretionary funding while an additional $19.4B for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is requested for response and recovery to major disasters. The budget once again seeks and additional $5B for construction of approximately 200 miles of new border wall system. The budget also provides $2.3B for a variety of grant funding provided to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in the form of non-disaster grants. These grants are intended to support and sustain capabilities at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels in our nation’s highest-risk transit systems, ports, and along our borders to prevent and respond to terrorism and other high-consequence disasters and emergencies.

The House Homeland Security Appropriations bill provides nearly $300 million more for State and Local Homeland Security Grant Programs and an additional $273.5 million more for the Urban Area Security Initiative. While the bill passed the House Appropriations Committee, it is yet to be voted on by the full House of Representatives.

The Senate Appropriations Committee reported out FY2020 Homeland Security Bill on September 26, 2019. The $70.7 billion spending package includes $53.18 billion in discretionary funding to fund border security, disaster relief, transportation security, immigration enforcement, and cybersecurity. The bill includes $2.7 billion for state and local first responders and emergency management personnel.

NOTE: Section 1234 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (division D of Public Law 115–254) changed the funding mechanism of Pre-disaster Hazard Mitigation Program (PDM) from a line item appropriation to a carve-out of up to 6 percent of the funds expended annually through the Disaster Relief Fund and expanded the scope of eligible activities for grants.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
State and Local Homeland Security Grant Program $525M $332M
Urban Area Security Initiative $640M $426.5M
Firefighter Assistance Grants $700M $688.7M
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund $250M $0
Flood Hazard Mapping & Risk Analysis Program $262.5M $192M
Emergency Management Performance $350M $279M
Port Security Grants $100M $35M
Disaster Relief Fund $12.55B $20B

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
State and Local Homeland Security Grant Program $625M $525M
Urban Area Security Initiative $700M $600M
Firefighter Assistance Grants $750M $710M
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund PDM is now a carve-out of up to 6 percent of the Disaster Relief Fund PDM is now a carve-out of up to 6 percent of the Disaster Relief Fund
Flood Hazard Mapping & Risk Analysis Program $263M $148M
Emergency Management Performance $375M $355M
Port Security Grants $110M $100M
Disaster Relief Fund $14.55B $17.8B
Housing and Urban Development

The President’s budget proposal recommends an overall cut of 16.5 percent to the FY20 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If enacted, the President’s budget proposal would result in $8.7B less for HUD programs compared to last year.  As a result, community development funding for city priorities, including CDBG and HOME, would be eliminated. The Administration is also proposing a controversial cost-savings measure that would consolidate several rental assistance programs into one, including Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing funds, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and set-asides for elderly and disability housing.

The House of Representatives’ rejected the President’s proposal and instead approved a bill that would increase funding for housing and community development. Both CDBG and HOME grant programs would be increased under the House bill.

The Senate is also advancing a bill that is favorable to city programs, with flat or increased funding across the board compared to FY19 funding levels. However, the bill provides $1.5 billion less in overall funding for HUD than the House bill.

Sign-On Letters

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal
CDBG $3.3B Eliminated
HOME $1.25B Eliminated
Choice Neighborhoods $150M Eliminated
Tenant Based Rental Assistance $22.5B $22.2B
Project Based Rental Assistance $11.74B $12.0B
Public Housing Operating Fund $4.65B $2.86B
Public Housing Capital Fund $2.77B Eliminated
Homeless Assistance Grants $2.6B $2.59B
Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard $279M $290M

 

Program FY20 House FY20 Senate
CDBG $3.6B $3.3B
HOME $1.75B $1.25B
Choice Neighborhoods $300M $100M
Tenant Based Rental Assistance $23.8B 23.8B
Project Based Rental Assistance $12.6B $12.5B
Public Housing Operating Fund $4.8B $4.6B
Public Housing Capital Fund $2.9B $2.8B
Homeless Assistance Grants $2.8B $2.7B
Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard $290M $290M
Justice

The President’s FY20 budget proposal for the Department of Justice (DOJ) request totals $29.2B. The budget requests an additional $146.9M to strengthen federal law enforcement’s ability to reduce violent crime. The Budget provides an additional $290.5M to enhance heroin enforcement efforts, end anonymous online drug trafficking, and pursue transnational criminal organizations profiting from these deadly substances. The budget proposal also looks to support state and local assistance programs, including $604.2M for violent crime reduction efforts, $100M for Project Safe Neighborhood, $405.2M in Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, and $99.0M for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program. DOJ continues to address the opioid crisis and requests $330M for the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act. The FY20 budget proposal includes $86.5M to prepare inmates for successful reintegration back into communities through its Second Chance Program. 

The House of Representatives’ proposed budget only sees a decrease in the Stop School Violence Act funding whereas the rest of the relevant categories are marked by moderate to significant increases. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies passed it by voice vote on May 17, and the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor 30-22 on May 22.  

The Senate Appropriations Committee advance the FY2020 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill which provides $1.79 billion for State and local law enforcement assistance. The recommendation is $66,790,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $307,590,000 above the budget request.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal FY20 House
Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program $423.5M $405.2M $530.25M
COPS Hiring Grants $225.5M $99M $239.75M
Second Chance Act (SCA) $87.5M $85M $106.5M
Drug Courts $77M $69M $83M
Mentally Ill Offender Act $31M $30M $35M
Veteran Treatment Courts $22M $18M $25M
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Activities $347M $330M $375M
Juvenile Justice Programs $287M $238.5M $341.5M
National Instant Criminal Background Check System $75M $4M $80M
Interagency Law Enforcement Crime and Drug Enforcement Program $560M $550.5M $570M
State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) $243.5 $0 $260M
Stop School Violence Act $100M $98M $93M
Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction/Project Safe Neighborhoods   $100M  
Violence Against Women Act     $582.5M

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

In a repeat of the White House’s FY19 budget proposal, important programs for cities within the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies were largely eliminated in the President’s FY20 budget proposal, including the independent agencies of the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The House of Representatives’ budget proposal only suggests less spending on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act while the other programs receive moderate increases, a stark contrast from the elimination of many of the programs in the president’s proposal. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies passed it by voice vote on April 30, and the House Appropriations Committee voted 30-23 in favor on May 8. 

Sign-On Letters

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal FY20 House
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) $3.50B $3.25B $3B
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) $400M Eliminated $464M
21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) $1.22B Eliminated $1.3B
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants $2.06B Eliminated $2.6B
Charter School Program Grants $440M $500M  
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) $360M Eliminated $395M
Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) $13.2B $12.4B $14.5B
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) $3.69B Eliminated $3.8B
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) $725M Eliminated $796M
Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) $1.08B Eliminated $1.7B
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) $1.08B Eliminated $1.14B
Institute for Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) $242M Eliminated $257M

 

Transportation

The President’s FY20 budget proposal continues to promote a $200B infrastructure package while cutting other transportation programs on which cities rely, such as the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants, which were cut by 41 percent, and Essential Air Service, which was not proposed for complete elimination as in earlier presidential budgets but was down $50M from FY19 budget levels. Two competitive grant programs of note were boosted: the popular Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants went up to $1.5B, an 11 percent bump, and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) freight grants program added $1B to an existing $1B included in the FAST Act. The budget acknowledges the need to reauthorize the FAST Act as well as return the Highway Trust Fund to solvency with Congress. The budget proposal also included $300M in competitive highway bridge grants, which would reward states that use innovative and efficient procurement practices to repair or replace rural bridges that are in poor condition. Finally, the budget proposes investing $127M to support the safe integration of unmanned aerial systems (also called drones) into the nation’s airspace.

The House of Representatives’ budget proposal offers an increase in BUILD/TIGER grants while decreasing Transit Capital Investment grants and maintaining essential air service funding.

The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee bill reports in at $3.2 billion above FY2019 levels. Transportation programs that improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the transportation system were prioritized. In addition, the bill includes $1.25 billion in Surface Transportation Block Grant funds and for the elimination of hazards at railway-highway grade crossings as well as $1.25 billion for bridge repairs in small states with high rates of bridges not in good condition.

Program FY19 Final FY20 President's Proposal FY20 House
Infrastructure Proposal   $200B  
Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD and previously called TIGER) $900M $1B $1B
Transit Capital Investment Grants $2.6B $1.5B $2.3B
Essential Air Service $175M $125M $175M

 

Program FY20 Senate
Infrastructure Proposal  
Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD and previously called TIGER) $1B
Transit Capital Investment Grants $1.978B
Essential Air Service $175M