Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations

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Updated March 24, 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 proposed no new
authorized water resource projects and the operation and
studies or construction projects (referred to as new starts).
maintenance of infrastructure and navigation improvements
In response to budget requests with no new starts in recent
managed by USACE. For USACE civil works, President
years, Congress has provided funding and required USACE
Trump requested $5.97 billion for FY2021. As shown in
to start a specified number of new construction projects and
Figure 1, Congress typically funds USACE above the
new 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 P.L. 116-260. At
Figure 2. USACE Account Appropriations,
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. For 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). In FY2021 appropriations and accompanying
USACE appropriations process and related issues, see CRS
report language, Congress set out 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. Congress directed the Administration to develop a
work plan within 60 days of enactment that reports on (1)
President Trump’s FY2021 budget request prioritized
the selected new start studies and construction projects and
maintaining the performance of existing infrastructure, as

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations
(2) the specific projects receiving additional funding. On
Everglades restoration construction and O&M projects are
January 19, 2021, the Trump Administration transmitted the
cost-shared 50%/50%. For FY2021, President Trump
FY2021 work plan, which distributed the $2.25 billion in
requested $350 million for USACE ecosystem restoration
additional funding to specific projects.
efforts, of which $260 million was for Everglades
restoration. FY2021 appropriations funded $632 million for
Selected FY2021 Topics
ecosystem restoration, including two new construction
projects and the requested level of funding for the
Everglades. The FY2021 request for flood risk reduction
Congress provided $3.8 billion for navigation in FY2021,
was $1.6 billion (up from $1.0 billion in the FY2020
which was above the requested $2.4 billion. The navigation
request). FY2021 appropriations funded $1.93 billion for
investments were split: $2.4 billion for coastal navigation
USACE flood risk reduction, including a new study start
and harbors, and $1.4 billion for inland and intracoastal
and a new construction start under the Mississippi River
and Tributaries account.
For inland and intracoastal waterways, Congress lowered
Continuing Authorities Programs
the required Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF)
President Trump’s FY2021 request sought $4 million for
contribution from 50% to 35% for construction projects
four Continuing Authorities Programs (CAPs) and no funds
funded from FY2021 through FY2031, thereby increasing
for the five remaining CAPs. Congress provided a total of
the general fund share to 65%. The IWTF receives
$69.5 million for the nine CAPs. CAPs allow USACE to
collections from a $0.29 per gallon fuel tax on commercial
plan and construct projects of limited scope and cost (see
vessels in designated federal waterways. The FY2021
CRS In Focus IF11106, Army Corps of Engineers:
request proposed to discontinue funding for ongoing
Continuing Authorities Programs).
waterway construction projects. For FY2021, Congress has
directed not only that ongoing inland waterway
Environmental Infrastructure Assistance
construction projects should be funded but also that one
Since 1992, Congress also has authorized and funded
new IWTF cost-shared project should be started with
USACE to provide environmental infrastructure assistance
FY2021 appropriations (i.e., a new start). The FY2021
(i.e., planning, design, and construction of municipal
request also proposed an annual user fee on inland
drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects in
waterway commercial vessels that Congress did not adopt.
specified communities, counties, and states). No
Administration has ever requested authorization or
The IWTF contribution change was enacted in the Water
appropriations for USACE to perform environmental
Resources Development Act of 2020 (Title AA of P.L. 116-
infrastructure assistance. For FY2021, Congress provided
260). The legislation also made changes related to the
$100 million of additional funding above the budget request
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and coastal and harbor
for these authorities, which USACE allocated in the work
navigation authorities, which may alter funding for these
plan to 27 different projects (see CRS In Focus IF11184,
USACE activities subsequent to FY2021. For more on
Army Corps of Engineers: Environmental Infrastructure
these navigation changes, see CRS In Focus IF11700,
Water Resources Development Act of 2020.
Backlog and Alternative Financing and Delivery
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
A persistent challenge for USACE is how to address its
President Trump’s FY2021 request would not have
backlog of roughly $98 billion in authorized USACE
provided funding to USACE’s Water Infrastructure Finance
construction activities. Nonfederal project sponsors and
and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program (authorized in 2014
federal policymakers have explored options regarding
by P.L. 113-121). USACE, through WIFIA, is authorized to
project financing and sharing costs and responsibilities
provide credit assistance, in the form of secured or direct
among project sponsors and beneficiaries. Congress has
loans, for a range of water resource projects. In FY2021,
authorized enhanced nonfederal and private participation in
Congress created a new USACE account for the agency’s
USACE projects. For example, Congress expanded
WIFIA program and appropriated $14.2 million to it. Of the
authorities to reimburse or credit nonfederal work on
total, $12 million is specifically for nonfederal dam owners
authorized projects. In addition to post-construction
for dam safety projects, with the remaining $2.2 million for
reimbursement, Congress in 2014 authorized transferring
USACE administrative expenses to carry out the program.
USACE funds to nonfederal entities for use on the
In P.L. 116-260, Congress capped the total amount of loans
construction of authorized projects. The FY2021 request
supported by the FY2021 appropriation at $950 million (see
proposed to use $250 million for these transfers and another
CRS Insight IN11577, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil
$250 million to accelerate construction projects that have
Work s Infrastructure Financing Program (CWIFP): Status
advanced funding or funding in excess of nonfederal cost
and Issues).
share by nonfederal entities. As in previous appropriations
bills, Congress did not fund these initiatives.
Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Reduction
Congress generally has set the cost share of USACE
Anna E. Normand, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
ecosystem restoration and flood risk reduction project
Nicole T. Carter, Acting Deputy Assistant Director and
construction at 65% federal and 35% nonfederal, with the
costs of O&M, routine repair, and rehabilitation at 100%
nonfederal. For some projects, however, Congress has used
different cost-sharing arrangements. For example, most

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations

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wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material. | IF11462 · VERSION 5 · UPDATED