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Updated January 4, 2021
Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations
Congress generally funds the civil works activities of the
reflected by the share of funds requested for operations and
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in annual Energy
maintenance (i.e., the O&M account; see Figure 2), and
and Water Development appropriations acts. These
completing ongoing construction projects (i.e., the
activities include the planning and construction of
Construction account). The request would have initiated no
authorized water resource projects and the operation and
new studies or construction projects (referred to as new
maintenance of infrastructure and navigation improvements
starts). In response to budget requests with no new starts in
managed by USACE. For USACE civil works, President
recent years, Congress has required USACE to start a
Trump requested $5.97 billion for FY2021. As shown in
specified number of new construction projects and new
Figure 1, Congress typically funds USACE above the
studies. In FY2021, Congress has required seven new
President’s request. For FY2021, Congress provided $7.80
projects and nine new studies.
billion (31% above the FY2021 request and 2% above
FY2020 enacted) in Division D, Title I of H.R. 133. At
Figure 2. USACE Account Appropriations, FY2016-
times, Congress also provides USACE with supplemental
appropriations, typically for flood response and recovery
(nominal $, in billions)
(see CRS In Focus IF11435, Supplemental Appropriations
for Army Corps Flood Response and Recovery
Figure 1. Annual USACE Funding, FY2007-FY2021
(nominal $, in billions)

Source: CRS.
Notes: WIFIA = Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act;
ASA = Assistant Secretary of the Army; Regulatory = Regulatory
Program; FUSRAP = Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action
Program. WIFIA is a new account as of FY2021.

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Since the 112th Congress, moratorium policies have limited
USACE Funding and FY2021 Request
congressionally directed funding of site-specific projects
(i.e., earmarks). Prior to the 112th Congress, Congress
Unlike many of the federal agencies that support
would direct funds to specific projects not in the budget
infrastructure investments by distributing federal funds to
request or increase funds for certain projects. Each year
nonfederal entities by formula or through competitive grant
since FY2011, Congress has appropriated additional
programs, USACE directly commits funds for project
funding for categories of USACE work without identifying
planning and construction. It uses most of its appropriations
specific projects. In FY2021, Congress provided $2.25
for work on specific studies and projects authorized by
billion in additional funding for 25 categories of USACE
Congress. These activities are often cost shared with
activities (e.g., construction of flood and storm damage
nonfederal project sponsors or users. For more on the
reduction). Congress set out in appropriations legislation
USACE appropriations process and related issues, see CRS
and accompanying report language priorities and other
Report R46320, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Annual
guidance for the Administration’s use of the additional
Appropriations Process and Issues for Congress.
funding. The Administration is to develop a work plan
within 60 days of enactment that reports on (1) the selected
The President’s FY2021 budget request prioritized
maintaining the performance of existing infrastructure, as

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations
new start studies and construction projects and (2) the
WIFIA program and appropriated $14.2 million to it. Of the
specific projects receiving additional funding.
total, $12.2 million is specifically for nonfederal dam
owners for dam safety projects, with the remaining $2
The FY2021 request also sought to limit funding to ongoing
million for USACE administrative expenses to carry out the
navigation and flood risk reduction construction projects
with benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) greater than 2.5 (i.e.,
benefits are at least two and a half times project costs) or to
Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Reduction
projects that address safety concerns. Congress indicated
Congress generally has set the cost share of USACE
that, in identifying the projects to be funded in the FY2021
ecosystem restoration and flood risk reduction project
work plan with additional funding, administration budget
construction at 65% federal and 35% nonfederal, with the
metrics, like the BCR, are not a disqualifying metric.
costs of O&M, routine repair, and rehabilitation at 100%
nonfederal. For some projects, however, Congress has used
Selected FY2021 Topics
different cost-sharing arrangements. For example, most
Everglades restoration construction and O&M projects are
cost-shared 50%/50%. For FY2021, the President requested
Congress provided more than $3.7 billion for navigation in
$350 million for USACE ecosystem restoration efforts, of
FY2021, which was above the requested $2.4 billion. The
which $260 million was for Everglades restoration. The
USACE FY2021 work plan is to determine the final suite of
FY2021 request for flood risk reduction was $1.6 billion
coastal and inland navigation projects funded for
(up from $1.0 billion in the FY2020 request). Congress
construction and O&M. Due to changes enacted by
provided for at least $2.2 billion of FY2021 appropriations
Congress, USACE navigation funding may be allocated
to be used on USACE flood risk reduction, and it provided
differently from the current process for both harbors and
additional funding of at least $127 million above the budget
waterways, as explained below.
request that can be used on ecosystem restoration,
environmental compliance, and environmental stewardship
For coastal navigation and harbors, a budget adjustment to
activities. The FY2021 work plan is to determine the final
not count the use of some Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
level of flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration
(HMTF) spending and certain other harbor spending toward
funding and the specific activities funded with FY2021
annual budget caps will go into effect in FY2021, thereby
facilitating greater use of the HMTF in future years. The
HMTF receives collections from the Harbor Maintenance
Continuing Authorities Programs
Tax (HMT), which is applied principally to imported and
The President’s FY2021 request sought $4 million for four
domestic waterborne cargo at coastal and Great Lakes
Continuing Authorities Programs (CAPs) and no funds for
ports. In most years since the early 1990s, annual HMT
the five remaining CAPs. Congress provided a total of
collections and interest on the HMTF balance exceeded
$69.5 million for the nine CAPs. CAPs allow USACE to
annual spending on HMTF-eligible activities; this led to a
plan and construct projects of limited scope and cost (see
HMTF balance of $9.2 billion at the start of FY2021.
CRS In Focus IF11106, Army Corps of Engineers:
Continuing Authorities Programs
For inland and intracoastal waterways, Congress lowered
the required Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF)
Backlog and Alternative Financing and Delivery
contribution from 50% to 35% for construction projects
A persistent challenge for USACE is how to address its
funded from FY2021 through FY2031, thereby increasing
backlog of roughly $98 billion in authorized USACE
the general fund share to 65%. The IWTF receives
construction activities. Nonfederal project sponsors and
collections from a $0.29 per gallon fuel tax on commercial
federal policymakers have explored options regarding
vessels in designated federal waterways. The FY2021
project financing and sharing costs and responsibilities
request proposed to discontinue funding for ongoing
among project sponsors and beneficiaries. Congress has
waterway construction projects. For FY2021, Congress has
authorized enhanced nonfederal and private participation in
directed not only that ongoing inland waterway
USACE projects. For example, Congress expanded
construction projects should be funded but also that one
authorities to reimburse or credit nonfederal work on
new IWTF cost-shared project should be started with
authorized projects. In addition to post-construction
FY2021 appropriations (i.e., a new start). The FY2021
reimbursement, Congress in 2014 authorized transferring
request also included a proposal for an annual user fee on
USACE funds to nonfederal entities for use on the
inland waterway commercial vessels that Congress did not
construction of authorized projects. The FY2021 request
adopt. For more on these navigation changes, see CRS In
proposed to use $250 million for these transfers and another
Focus IF11700, Water Resources Development Act of 2020.
$250 million to accelerate construction projects that have
advanced funding or funding in excess of nonfederal cost
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
share by nonfederal entities. As in previous appropriations
The President’s FY2021 request would not have provided
bills, Congress did not fund these initiatives.
funding to USACE’s Water Infrastructure Finance and
Innovation Act (WIFIA) program (authorized in 2014 by
Anna E. Normand, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
P.L. 113-121). USACE, through WIFIA, is authorized to
Nicole T. Carter, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
provide credit assistance, in the form of secured or direct
loans, for a range of water resource projects. In FY2021,
Congress created a new USACE account for the agency’s

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations

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wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material. | IF11462 · VERSION 3 · UPDATED