Straining to meet their budget targets, House Republicans proposed a new round of deep cuts from environmental, arts, and wildlife programs Monday, going billions of dollars beyond the across-the-board reductions already ordered by sequestration in March.
The $24.3 billion natural resources bill represents a $5.5 billion reduction from what Congress had approved only last spring and is about $4 billion below what the agencies have been living with since March.
An estimated $1.5 billion in emergency funding is added to meet fire-fighting costs and the Forest Service's budget would grow chiefly because of wildfire prevention and suppression programs. But elsewhere the picture is exceptionally bleak.
The Environmental Protection Agency is among those hardest hit, with its annual funding reduced by about a third to $5.5 billion. The much smaller Fish and Wildlife Service is also cut 27 percent below what had been enacted earlier this year.