Federal Outlays for Agencies
The president’s FY 2020 Budget would increase overall spending on regulatory agencies over 2019 levels. It requests $75.2 billion in regulatory outlays, compared to estimated outlays of $71.5 billion in 2019. In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, this would mean a 2.9 percent increase in spending. The FY 2019 regulators’ budget is 0.9 percent higher than in 2018.
These topline figures hide some large proposed increases in some regulatory agencies and large decreases in others, however. Reflecting the Trump administration’s priorities of strengthening the border and limiting illegal immigration, agencies involved in border security and immigration enforcement are slated for significant increases in both funds and staff. Under the president’s proposal, regulators in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would receive a 9.2 percent real increase in resources and a 5.6 percent increase in staff in 2020. Within DHS, funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Coast Guard would increase by 6.3 percent, 22.2 percent, and 24.9 percent, respectively.
These increases are offset by reductions at other agencies. Apart from the homeland security category, funding for the four other main categories of social regulation—consumer safety and health, transportation, workplace, and energy and environment—would decline in real terms. Similar to the president’s request for FY 2019, the FY 2020 Budget targets agencies involved in environmental and energy regulation for the biggest cuts. In particular, the Department of Energy (DOE) would receive 31.8 percent less in 2020 than appropriated in 2019, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is slated for a 5.1 percent reduction below 2019 spending levels in real terms.
Overall, agencies conducting economic regulation—categorized as finance and banking, industry-specific regulation, and general business—would receive 0.6 percent less in real resources. However, those cuts are primarily concentrated in spending on finance and banking, which would fall by 4.7 percent.
Federal Agency Staffing
The president’s Budget calls for a 1.9 percent increase in the total number of FTEs at the regulatory agencies tracked here. The FY 2020 Budget requests 287,063 employees—5,457 more than estimated 2019 levels, which were 5,628 greater than 2018.
Similar to the trend for federal spending on social regulation, the Budget requests large staffing increases in agencies focused on homeland security regulation (5.6 percent), while seeking substantial reductions in staff dedicated to the environment and energy category (-14.0 percent). The other categories would remain largely unchanged from 2019 to 2020.
The FY 2020 Budget requests a 1.3 percent increase in staffing at agencies involved in economic regulation. FY 2019 levels are an estimated 1.8 percent higher than in 2018. In 2018, FTEs totaled 44,777, while estimated FTEs for this category are 45,589 in 2019 and 46,184 in 2020. Overall, staffing for the finance and banking category would fall an estimated 0.2 percent in 2020, rise by 1.4 percent for industry-specific regulation, and increase by 2.6 percent for general business.