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The Center for Effective Government has developed this simple dashboard to help provide the public and the media with a simple entry point for learning more about our government's efforts to protect the public.


A critical function of government is to protect citizens from harm. We expect our national government to keep contaminated food off the grocery store shelves and out of restaurants; to prevent industrial facilities from poisoning the air and water in our communities, and to ensure we have safe workplaces.

When our health and safety systems are working well, they tend to be invisible to us, and we take them for granted. It's when they fail that we pay attention.

We are likely to see more failures in the coming years if we continue to reduce the resources of the public agencies charged with averting preventable injuries and tragedies. The budgets of these key oversight agencies have stagnated or declined over the past decade – even as their tasks have grown more complex and burdensome.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring the toxicity and health effects of the hundreds of new chemicals that are being introduced to the market each year (to an existing inventory of over 84,000 chemicals in commercial use). Less than two percent have been adequately tested for health risks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had fewer health and safety compliance inspections staff in 2011 than in 1981, even though the number of workplaces it is supposed to keep safe doubled from 4.5 to 9 million, and the number of workers in the U.S. rose from 73.4 to 129.4 million.

The amount of domestic animal products (meat, poultry, egg products) that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for inspecting increased by 10 percent over the past decade – from 100 to 110 billion.

And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is dealing with the complex issue of food imports. The proportion of imported food that Americans consume more than doubled between 2003 and 2013, to 15 percent. This includes two-thirds of fresh fruits and vegetables. But the FDA manages to inspect only one to two percent of all imports at American ports and borders.

The Center for Effective Government has compiled the budget levels for the four federal regulatory agencies named above using White House budget documents going back to fiscal year 2004 (the federal fiscal year is October 1 through September 30) and adjusted them for inflation.

This presentation is best used for analyzing trends in spending levels.

When inflation-adjusted, President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal does not increase funding for FDA, OSHA, FSIS or EPA. Congress is likely to propose lower levels of funding, especially for EPA and OSHA.

These budget levels are a starting point for the budget negotiations that will occur this year. The Center for Effective Government has developed this simple dashboard to help provide the public and the media with a simple entry point for learning more about our government's efforts to protect the public. Please note that there are substantial caveats with the data. See the Notes section below the tables for more information.

Budget authority by agency and obligations by program activity, 2004-2016 (in millions of 2013 dollars)

Fiscal Year2004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Environmental Protection Agency10,1599,4508,6908,5977,5648,19010,8788,9998,6317,9558,1197,6747,435
Science and Technology
Clean air and global climate change256247244219242261258282271242244243217
Clean and safe water161159149139154180161163151145136135134
Land preservation and restoration6556504023332019203177182180157
Healthy communities and ecosystems402381374357364344381395193174174172164
Compliance and environmental stewardship94946554465149512017171915
Environmental Programs and Management
Clean air and global climate change538530501500477489515521483430448461421
Clean and safe water5955925495304954925345101003889930957911
Land preservation and restoration240252264244226234250228377337348360326
Healthy communities and ecosystems70673571268568470012161,105444391411423377
Compliance and environmental stewardship623612634614581614625626525469486501459
State and Tribal Assistance Grants
Clean air and global climate change303290302255313315408360309261268253208
Clean and safe water3,8493,3663,0172,8962,6352,4403,7473,8813,6262,9252,8302,1652,654
Land preservation and restoration146145143147123121118123333316293317235
Healthy communities and ecosystems2982982893012962212632313832313125
Compliance and environmental stewardship1341421301161151161111162824232219
Hazardous Substance Superfund
Clean air and global climate change4454445434343
Land preservation and restoration1,4811,5901,4951,4791,4941,5021,5291,4831,153988942970898
Compliance and environmental stewardship2426293029282718244226199205202
Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program
Land preservation and restoration888398941161211231232,5471089410080
Inland Oil Spill Programs
Land preservation and restoration22211817191819202018172420
Food and Drug Administration1,6561,6841,6761,9621,7152,2122,7522,4922,6122,0732,6022,5152,376
Devices and radiological products232253251257256327332334328296317309284
National Center for Toxicological Research48474646476063636155615751
Other activities11010398103106140150155156160170170157
Other rent and rent-related activities4663657696108110102108118131113119
Rental payments139133132141141144154157162150159165153
Buildings and facilities28291196231396988
Animal drugs and feed---------126139141144
Food and drug safety (no-year)---------924--
Offsetting collections authority (mostly user fees)4024674864986477321,2161,2561,3791,3951,8781,848936
Budget authority + offsetting collections spending authority2,0582,1502,1622,4622,3612,9443,9693,7473,9913,46844804,3643,312
Food Safety and Inspection Service9409629479919981,0431,0781,0441,019974996974876
Occupational Safety and Health Administration556546538542523558591580574537544550512
Safety and health standards19191919181820202019202020
Federal enforcement202199197197196212237232211208205205196
Whistleblower protections--------1615162120
State programs11110810410297100110108106989910290
Technical support25252524232427272624242421
Federal compliance assistance81838382777877767762686863
State consultation grants63626059555859565955585650
Training grants13121111111112111111111010
Safety and health statistics27262736333637363633343434
Executive direction and administration12131212121213121111111010


The levels have been adjusted to 2013 dollars using the White House Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) non-defense Gross Domestic Product Deflator (see Table 10). For questions about the data, please feel free to contact staff at the Center for Effective Government.

The agency-wide budget numbers are "budget authority" – this is what Congress votes on when it sets appropriations. It is "the authority provided by law to incur financial obligations that will result in outlays," according to OMB. "In deciding the amount of budget authority to request for a program, project, or activity, agency officials estimate the total amount of obligations they will need to incur to achieve desired goals and subtract the unobligated balances available for these purposes. The amount of budget authority requested is influenced by the nature of the programs, projects, or activities being financed."

The program level numbers are obligations, which, according to OMB, include "the current liabilities for salaries, wages, and interest; and contracts for the purchase of supplies and equipment, construction, and the acquisition of office space, buildings, and land."

FDA's "Animal Feed" and "Biologics" program areas were broken out from its "Drugs" program for budgetary purposes in recent years.

In addition to appropriations from Congress, FDA is authorized to collect substantial amounts of funding from industry in the form of user fees that nearly double its budget. The Center for Effective Government derived this information from the "Spending authority from offsetting collections, discretionary (total)" budget line that is mostly made up of collected user fees from industry. The other agencies examined do not get substantial funding from user fees.

OSHA's "Whistleblower Program" was broken out from "Federal Enforcement" for budgetary purposes in recent years.

OMB budget documents do not include EPA's agency-wide budget authority numbers for fiscal years 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. However, rounded to the nearest one hundred million dollars, these budget authority numbers exist in the budget summary table. After adjusting for inflation, staff at the Center for Effective Government rounded these budget authority numbers to the nearest one hundred million. As more detailed information becomes available, the Center for Effective Government will update this dashboard.

The EPA received substantial amounts of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dollars, especially in 2010.

There are substantial budget variations for some EPA programs in certain years. EPA should be consulted for more details.

Research: Mark Boyd, Jessica Schieder, Katie Weatherford, Nick Schwellenbach, and Ronald White
Text: Jessica Schieder and Ronald White
Other Contributions: Katherine McFate, Scott Klinger, and Brian Gumm

Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project was gracious enough to review these inflation-adjustments.

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