April 21, 2014

WASHINGTON BUDGET REPORT: Nov. 11, 2009

WASHINGTON BUDGET REPORT: Nov. 11, 2009
House Narrowly Passes Health Reform, but Senate Action Slowed by CBO Scoring and 60-Vote Hurdle Health Bills Good on Expanding Coverage; Weak on Cost Containment House To Take Up SGR "Doc" Fix - PAYGO Bill Unemployment-Homebuyer-NOL bill passes; and Other Budget News... Appropriations Tracker

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Welcome to the Concord Coalition's weekly Washington Budget Report: a nonpartisan plain English summary of key budget, appropriations, and tax developments.  The Concord Coalition Washington Budget Report is written and edited by Charles Konigsberg, Chief Budget Counsel of The Concord Coalition. If you have questions or comments contact us at ckonigsberg@concordcoalition.org. 

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Budget Process: Step-by-Step

New additions to the following chronologies are in bold type.    

1. Economic Stimulus  (track expenditures at www.recovery.gov)

  • January:  Congress allowed release of the second half of TARP's $700 billion 
  • Feb 17: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law by the President (Concord Summary)
  • June 18: Congress enacted $1 billion "cash for clunkers" program in FY 2009 Supplemental
  • August 7: President signed (HR 3435) to extend "cash for clunkers" program w/ an additional $2 billion
  • Sept. 22: The House passed a bill (HR 3548) to extend unemployment benefits another 13 weeks for workers in states where the job market has been hardest hit (defined as a 3-month average unemployment rate over 8.5 percent). 
  • Nov. 6:  President signs legislation (HR 3548) to extend expiring unemployment benefits and the homebuyers tax credit, as well as providing net operating loss carryback relief to struggling businesses.

2. FY 2010 Budget and Appropriations

  • February 26: President Obama transmitted a budget outline.
  • March 20: CBO released its Preliminary Analysis of the President's FY 2010 budget (using CBO economic projections)
  • March 25-26: House Budget Comm. and Senate Budget Comm. marked-up their respective versions of the FY 2010 Congressional Budget Resolution.
  • April 29: House and Senate adopted Budget Resolution Conference Report (S.Con.Res. 13).
  • May 11:  Administration released detailed FY 2010 Budget 
  • May-Sept: Action on the 12 regular FY 2010 appropriations bills beginning with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees dividing their budget resolution allocations among their 12 respective subcommittees (known as 302(b) allocations).  See "Appropriations Tracker" below for detailed appropriations actions.
  • August 25: CBO and OMB Release Updated Economic and Budget Projections
  • October 1: Fiscal Year 2010 begins (a continuing resolution was signed by the President allowing government programs to continue operating at FY 2009 levels through October 31, 2009).
  • October 15: Budget Resolution deadline for committees to report budget reconciliation legislation (health care reform and student loan reform), although congressional leaders will initially try to move a free-standing health reform bill without budget reconciliation's filibuster-proof protections. 
  • October 30: President signed the Interior-Environment Appropriations Act including a 2d continuing resolution to keep the government operating through December 18.

3. Stabilizing the Financial, Housing, and Auto Sectors

4. Health Care Reform 

  • March 5: White House Summit on Health Reform
  • May 11: White House meeting with Key Stakeholder Groups
  • July 15: Senate HELP Committee completed mark-up of health care reform bill.
  • July 17: Ed & Labor Committee marked up and passed its portion of the House Tri-Committee health reform bill
  • July 17: Ways & Means Committee marked up and passed its portion of the House Tri-Committee health reform bill
  • July 17: CBO released cost estimate on House Tri-committee bill estimating a deficit increase of $239 billion.
  • July 31: Energy and Commerce passed modified version of Tri-Committee health reform
  • Sept. 9: President speaking to Congress says he won't sign a bill that increases deficits "either now or in the future"
  • Oct. 7: CBO released cost estimate of Baucus plan
  • Oct. 13: Finance Committee votes to report Baucus plan by a vote of 14-9. 
  • Oct. 15: Budget Resolution deadline for committees to report budget reconciliation legislation including health care reform (although congressional committees are first attempting to move free-standing health reform legislation without budget reconciliation's filibuster-proof protections.) The advantage of Reconciliation is its immunity from filibuster; the disadvantage is that bill opponents could use the "Byrd Rule" to strip out all "non-budgetary" policy provisions. Ways & Means Committee sent its health reform bill to the Budget Committee on October 15 in order to preserve the reconciliation option.
  • Oct. 26: Reid announces merged Finance-HELP bill including public option w/ state opt-out
  • Nov. 7: House Passed Leadership health reform bill (HR 3962) by a vote of 220-215

5. Climate Change - Energy    

  • May 21:  House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, approving the measure on a nearly party-line vote (33-25). The bill would mandate a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 83% by 2050.  To accomplish this, the government would set a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide that could be emitted and would issue allowances to polluting sectors that could buy and sell those rights ("cap-and-trade").
  • June 6: CBO says Waxman-Markey climate bill (HR 2454) would reduce the federal deficit $24 billion over 2010-2019. CBO Report
  • June 17: Senate Energy & Committee Committee passed 15-8 a controversial energy bill opposed by many environmental groups    Press Release    Bill Summary  
  • June 26: CBO estimates that the revised Waxman-Markey climate bill (HR 2998) would reduce the federal deficit $9 billion over 2010-2019 (increasing revenues from "cap-and-trade" by $873 billion and increasing direct (mandatory) spending $864 billion).  CBO Report
  • June 26: House narrowly passed Waxman-Markey climate change bill 219-212
  • September 30:  Senators Kerry and Boxer introduce "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" -- Press Release
  • October 23:  Senator Boxer releases Chairman's Mark of Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (and Administration cost estimate)
  • November 5: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed Kerry-Boxer climate change bill.  
  • November:  Senators Kerry (D-MA), Graham (R-SC), and Lieberman (I-CT) are attempting to put together a separate bill aimed at garnering the support of 60 Senators needed to overcome a filibuster.

6. Highway Bill (FY 2010-15)

  • September 2008: Due to insufficient revenues in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for authorized levels of highway spending, Congress passed PL 110-318, providing an $8.017 billion transfer from the Treasury's general fund to the HTF.
  • 2009:  Leaders of key congressional committees have this year been negotiating the parameters of the next multiyear highway bill for fiscal years 2010-2015.  One major obstacle:  the federal gas tax is generating insufficient revenues to fund the desired level of highway spending.
  • February 2009: Sweeping reforms proposed by the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission
  • August 7, 2009: President signed legislation (HR 3357) to transfer $7 billion from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent through through spring 2010, past the expiration date of the current Highway Bill.
  • October 1, 2009:  The first FY 2010 CR included a temporary extension of the expiring highway authorization bill.  Negotiations over more short-term extensions will continue until passage of a 6-year highway bill. (The last highway bill required 12 extension bills over 22 months.) The long-term bill is increasingly being viewed as a "jobs bill."  However, financing of a 6-year bill has yet to be resolved since the existing federal gas tax cannot support the spending in the CBO baseline, much less the budget resolution or anything larger.  
  • Background.--For the period covered by the budget resolution (2010-2014), Congress allocated $259 billion to the relevant House and Senate Committees for highway and transit spending. This amount reflects a $67 billion increase above the "baseline" level--which is tied to current highway spending.  For additional views on highway spending, see the Senate Budget Committee minority staff analysis of the highway program.

7. Statutory PAYGO

  8. Higher Education Reform

  • July 15: House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-CA) introduced legislation (HR 3221) to convert Federal Family Education Loans (otherwise known as guaranteed student loans) to direct government loans. The budget savings from the student loan reforms would be used to boost Pell Grants and funding for community colleges and other programs.
  • July 21: House Education & Labor Committee voted to report HR 3221.
  • July 24: CBO Cost Estimate for HR 3221
  • CBO, July 2009: Analysis of the Subsidy Costs of Direct and Guaranteed Student Loans
  • Sept 11: CBO says an alternative proposal favored by the student loan industry would save less money than an administration proposal to convert all student loans to direct government lending   CBO Cost Estimate
  • Sept. 17: House passed HR 3221 by a vote of 253-71.
  • Oct. 6: Senate HELP Committee Chairman Harkin says committee expects to get an "extension" from Senate Budget Committee to use budget reconciliation for higher ed bill
  • Oct. 15: Budget Resolution deadline for committees to report budget reconciliation legislation including student loan and Pell Grant reforms
  • November: The student loan legislation is in a holding pattern while the Leadership determines if the reconciliation bill will continue only higher education provisions, or higher education plus health reform.

9. Long-Term Deficit Reduction

  • February 23: White House Fiscal Responsibility Summit 
  • March 17: Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) introduced legislation to establish a commission to reform tax policy and entitlement programs (HR 1557) 
  •  May 14: Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced legislation to establish a commission to reform tax policy and entitlement programs (S 1056) 
  •  July 22: In an interview with the Washington Post President Obama said he would support creation of a "commission or mechanism" to develop recommendations on which Congress would have to act and that "everything is going to have to be on the table." He said after health reform is enacted "then I think we're in a position to be able to, either at the end of this year or early next year, start laying out a broader picture about how we are going to handle entitlements in a serious way."
  • October 14:  Senators send letter to Majority Leader Reid urging that provisions establishing a special deficit reduction panel be added to  impending debt ceiling legislation
  • Nov. 10:  Senate Budget Chairman Conrad joins call for linking deficit reduction panel to impending debt ceiling bill

10. Tax Legislation

  • Unsustainable Deficits and Tax Reform: Under the President's Budget, average revenues during 2010-2019 are 18.5% of GDP, with average spending amounting to 23.7% of GDP.  Tax reform proposals, such as a Value-Added Tax (VAT), are often mentioned as one way to close the gap.  See Congressional Research Service:  An overview of tax reform proposals in the 111th Congress. 
  • Estate Tax:  Under current law, the estate tax is repealed for tax year 2010 and will return to pre-2001 levels in 2011.  The House is expected to take up legislation in November or December to retain the estate tax at 2009 levels for future years.

House Narrowly Passes Health Reform, but Senate Action Slowed by CBO Scoring and 60-Vote Hurdle

House

The House passed a comprehensive health reform bill (HR 3962) on November 7 along party lines with the exception of 39 Democrats opposing the bill and one Republican supporting the bill.  The vote was 220-215.

In a nutshell: the House-passed bill would require most individuals to buy health insurance if they don't get it through their jobs beginning in 2013.  Individuals and families with income up to 150% of the federal poverty level would qualify for Medicaid, and those with incomes up to 400% of FPL would qualify for subsidies. Employers with annual payrolls over $500,000 would be required to provide coverage or contribute to a fund for coverage ("play or pay").  The bill would create health insurance "exchanges" where individuals, families, and small businesses could shop for insurance policies, and would create a national public insurance option to compete with private insurance plans. Insurance companies could no longer refuse to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions, impose annual or lifetime benefit limits, or cancel a policy when someone files expensive claims.  The bill would impose a tax surcharge of 5.4% on couples with gross incomes over $1 million and individuals over $500,000.

Many of the Democrat "no" votes came from members of the fiscally conservative House Blue Dog Coalition concerned about the trillion-dollar-plus cost of the bill and the inadequacy of cost containment measures (see article below).

Earlier in the day, the House defeated 176-258 a Republican substitute health reform plan that would have extended coverage to 3 million of the 54 million projected to be uninsured by 2019.

Administration Statement on the House bill


Senate

On the Senate side of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is waiting for Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of his health reform bill that merges the Senate Finance Committee bill (S 1796) and the Senate HELP Committee bill (S 1679).

Even if Reid receives a budgetary "score" that confirms his Senate health reform bill is within the $900 billion, deficit-neutral guidelines set forth by the President, he will still face the problem of not having 60 votes to pass the bill (60 votes being required to end a filibuster and bring the measure to a vote).  By including a "public option" health plan in his bill, Reid has lost the support of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and possibly several centrist Democrats.

That will leave Senator Reid with three options to move health reform forward: (1) bring to the Floor a bill closer to the Senate Finance Committee version that did not include a public option and instead included state co-ops to spur competition with private insurance companies; (2) bring to the Floor a bill that includes a public option that would "trigger-in" only if health insurance exchanges failed to provide a threshold amount of choice and price competition; or (3) utilize the "budget reconciliation process" that would reduce the vote threshold to 50 votes--because reconciliation votes cannot be filibustered.  However, the downside of utilizing budget reconciliation is that the bill could not include any provisions that do not have a federal budgetary impact -- which would require that many of the key private insurance reforms would have to drop out of the bill.

Because of the political complexities of passing a bill in the Senate, Majority Leader Reid has at various times refused to commit to completing action on a conference report by the end of December.  Yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) confirmed that the schedule has slipped by saying Democrats' goal is now to pass its own version of health care reform by the end of the year -- pushing the House-Senate conference off to next year. 


Conference

After the Senate completes action, House and Senate conferees will have the politically complex task of negotiating a compromise bill that can obtain 218 votes in the House, 60 votes in the Senate (or 50 votes if the Senate utilizes the budget reconciliation option), and meet the President's requirements that the legislation not cost more than $900 billion over 10 years and not increase the deficit now or in the future.

Concord Coalition Side-by-Side on House-passed and Senate health reform bills



Health Bills Good on Expanding Coverage; Weak on Cost Containment

There is little dispute that the pending health reform bills would make significant progress in expanding health insurance coverage.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House-passed bill would increase coverage of legal, nonelderly from 83% to 96%;  and the Senate Finance bill from 83% to 94%.

However, critics of the pending bills contend that while they significantly increase coverage, they fail to sufficiently contain rapidly rising health costs. More specifically, critics say:

  • The Senate bill's plan to tax high-priced insurance policies is insufficient in scope to dramatically change medical consumption and the House bill lacks any such provisions;
  • Proposals to require comparative-effectiveness research have been watered down and fail to tie approval of new therapies to cost effectiveness and improved outcomes;
  • The Senate's Independent Medicare Commission has insufficient authority to make needed changes to rein in Medicare cost growth and hospitals have been exempted from the Commission's scope, while the House bill has no commission at all;
  • Medicare pilot projects aimed at bundling fees and paying doctors and hospitals for quality outcomes -- rather than the quantity of tests and procedures -- could take years to be implemented nationally, if ever;
  • Neither the House nor the Senate bills address medical malpractice reforms as called for by the President;
  • Promised savings in Medicare payments to health providers come from squeezing the payments a bit, but do nothing to fundamentally reform the system's incentives--and even those minimal savings may never come to pass given recent experience with scheduled--and abandoned--cuts in Medicare physician payments; and
  • Health industry groups' pledge last May to voluntarily trim the growth of health care spending by 1.5%, or $2 trillion over the next decade is unenforceable and unlikely to materialize.

The New York Times yesterday reported that "experts--including some who have consulted closely with the White House, like Dr. Denis A. Cortese, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic--say the measures take only baby steps toward revamping the current fee-for-service system, which drives up costs by paying health providers for each visit or procedure performed."  However, according to the Times, "drastic changes in the health care reimbursement system could cost the White House the support of doctors and hospital groups, who have signed onto the legislation and are lobbying hard to keep the current fee-for-service system from being phased out too quickly."

The Washington Post last week quoted Ralph Neas, head of the nonpartisan National Coalition on Health Care, as saying "these bills do very little in terms of reining in long-term cost growth," adding "there is not enough in the public sector and virtually none in the private sector."

Concord Coalition background papers and other resources on health reform


House To Take Up SGR "Doc" Fix - PAYGO Bill

The "Rule" the House adopted last Saturday for consideration of the health reform bill, also set the terms of debate for next week's consideration of legislation to "fix" the Medicare physician payment system and enact pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation that would generally require offsets for tax cuts and entitlement spending increases.

Background on Medicare Physician Payment System.--In 1997, the bipartisan "Balanced Budget Act" set up a new Medicare physician payment system designed to generate significant cost savings.  The new mechanism was called the "Sustainable Growth Rate" (SGR) and tied future Medicare physician payment rates to past spending.

Doctors complained about the SGR formula because it did not allow doctor's payments to keep pace with medical cost growth and Congress has stepped in periodically since 2002 to stop the SGR automatic cuts from being implemented.  This has caused a widening gap between current Medicare physician payments and the SGR rate required by the 1997 law.  For example, payment rates under the SGR physician fee schedule are due to fall by 21 percent in 2010 and by 5 percent annually for at least several years thereafter.  Additional Background on Fixing the SGR:  See Option 59

Last month, Senate leaders attempted to pass legislation to permanently repeal the SGR payment system, which would have cost $247 billion.  However, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), 12 Democrats, and independent Joe Lieberman (I-CT) joined Republicans to defeat an attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to invoke cloture (end debate) and bring the measure to a vote. Conrad and others objected that the $247 billion 10-year cost to override the SGR payment schedule would not have been paid for.

The Concord Coalition strongly agrees with Chairman Conrad that the measure would have added significantly to the already spiraling federal debt.  Concord Coalition Statement on Medicare "Doc" Fix

The House is now poised to vote next week on similar legislation to permanently cancel the required SGR physician pay cuts.  In order to address the concerns of fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, the House Democratic leadership will attach to the measure legislation to re-enact a 1990s-style PAYGO (pay-as-you-go) law--requiring that the costs of new tax cuts and entitlement spending increases be fully offset by tax increases and/or spending cuts.

The Concord Coalition strongly supports the re-enactment of a statutory PAYGO requirement.  However, we are deeply concerned that the PAYGO bill heading towards adoption in the House next week would exempt the Medicare SGR fix from the PAYGO requirement, costing $210 billion.  Moreover, the bill would also exempt: extension of the Bush tax cuts (at a 10-yr cost of more than $2 trillion), a fix for the estate tax before it jumps back to pre-2001 levels (at a cost of more than $250 billion), and a fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) so it doesn't impact middle income taxpayers (at a 10-yr cost around $500 billion).   See The Concord Coalition Issue Brief on PAYGO


Unemployment-Homebuyer-NOL bill passes; and Other Budget News...

Unemployment - Homebuyer - NOL Bill Passes

Last week Congress passed and the President signed legislation (HR 3548, PL 111-92 ) that would extend unemployment benefits, extend and expand the home buyer tax credit,  and expand the net operating loss carryback rules to give a boost to struggling businesses.  The bill was fully paid for, consistent with House and Senate PAYGO rules.  Details follow:

The unemployment measure will allow workers in all 50 states to draw 14 weeks of federal unemployment benefits after exhausting their regular 26 weeks of state compensation.  It will also provide an additional six weeks in states with unemployment rates higher than 8.5%.

The legislation will provide a continuation of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit through April 30, 2010, and would create a new $6,500 tax credit for existing homeowners who want to purchase a different house as their primary residence.   In addition, the legislation would increase the income caps for home buyer credit eligibility to $125,000 for individuals and $225,00 for couples.

HR 3548 will also expand the net operating loss (NOL) carryback provision from the 2009 stimulus legislation by allowing any business with a loss in either 2008 or 2009 to claim refunds of taxes paid within the prior five years.  Under current law, only small businesses were permitted to claim the five-year NOL carryback.

 

Senators Continue Call for Deficit Reduction Task Force / Commission

At a Senate Budget Committee hearing today, Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) reiterated his call for a bipartisan fiscal task force -- composed of lawmakers and Administration officials -- to develop a deficit reduction comprehensive package.  Conrad yesterday called for legislation creating a task force or commission to be added to impending legislation to raise the nation's debt ceiling.  According to the Treasury Department, Congress must increase the debt ceiling in December in order to avoid a Treasury default on U.S. securities.

The statutory debt ceiling does not have any practical impact in controlling the growing U.S. debt since -- as a practical matter -- the amount of debt is driven by spending and revenue decisions.  However, the periodic need to increase the statutory limit on the debt serves as high profile reminder of the rapid increase in U.S. debt.  The debt ceiling legislation has been used several times as a vehicle for budget process legislation aimed at containing growing deficits.

Conrad said he has joined with 10 other Senators in a commitment not to vote for a debt ceiling increase without also having a vote on creating a special process to deal with the long-term deficit outlook.

Charts Used at November 10th Senate Budget Committee Hearing

Related Statement by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

 

Financial Reform Bills

Congress Daily reports that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's (D-CT) draft financial reform legislation "largely hews to an Obama administration overhaul plan and a package crafted by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank.  But it contains a few key differences. For example, the Dodd draft would establish an Agency for Financial Stability to monitor threates to the financial system like the other plans. But it would create an independent director selected by the president to head the agency.  The Dodd bill also consolidates banking regulation at the federal level much more than other proposals, merging the duties of four different agencies into a new Financial Institutions Regulatory Administration. Small banks oppose the change."

Banking Committee Press Release

 

Concord Coalition Releases New On-Line Version of Principles and Priorities Budget Game 

The Concord Coalition and Next 10, a California group, are offering a new do-it-yourself on-line tool to balance the federal budget.

Called the Federal Budget Challenge, the Web site leads users through a series of policy choices ranging from health care to national defense to tax deductions. At each step along the way, a graph displays how their choices impact federal budget deficits over the next 10 years. Users can opt to receive a detailed explanation of each choice that offers arguments for and against each option.

“With the federal deficit soaring, the baby boomers beginning to retire and both houses of Congress debating the cost of health care, it is now more critical than ever that Americans understand the way our nation’s finances work,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.

Added F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10. “Our nation’s finances impact all of us and it’s our responsibility to understand how the federal budget works. This tool allows users to set their own priorities and make policy choices that reflect their values and vision for the future.”

New On-Line Version of Principles and Priorities Budget Game

Appropriations Tracker

Overview

On October 30th, the President signed the Interior-Environment Appropriations Act that also included a 2d continuing resolution to keep agencies without FY 2010 appropriations authority operating through December 18, 2009.  Thus far, Congress has completed action on 5 of the 12 regular appropriations bills: Agriculture, Energy-Water, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, and Legislative Branch.

REVISED House Subcommittee (302(b) Allocations (among the 12 appropriations subcommittees)

Senate Subcommittee (302(b) Allocations (among the 12 appropriations subcommittees)

Click on the dates below for links to bill summaries.  If you have trouble with the Senate links download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or go to http://appropriations.senate.gov/ and click on "Subcommittees" for links to the documents.

BILL

House

Senate

Conference

Pres.

Sub

Comm

Floor

Sub

Comm

Floor

House

Senate

 

Ag


6/11

6/18

7/9

*


7/7 

8/4

10/7

10/8

10/21

Com-Just-Sci


6/4

 6/9


6/18

6/24

 6/25

11/5

 

 

 

Defense


7/16

7/22

7/30 

 9/09

 9/10

10/6

   

 

Energy-Water

6/25

 7/8


7/17

7/8

7/9

7/29

10/1

10/15

10/28

Fin Services

6/25 


7/7

7/16

 7/8

7/9 

 

 

 

 

Homeland Sec

 6/8


6/12

6/24

6/17

6/18

7/9

10/15

10/20

10/28

Interior-Env

6/10

6/18


6/26

6/23

6/25

9/24

10/29

10/29

10/30

Labor-HHS-Ed


7/10

7/17

7/24


7/28

7/30 

 

 

 

 

Leg Branch


6/9

6/12

6/19

 *

6/18 

 7/6

9/25

9/30

10/1

Mil Con-VA

6/16

6/23 

7/10 

7/6 

7/7 

 

 

 

 

State-For Ops

6/17

6/23

 7/9 

 
*

 7/9

 

 

 

 

Transp-HUD


7/13


7/17

7/23

 7/29

7/30 

 9/17

 

 

 

*polled out (no formal subcommittee vote)

Earmark Disclosure

Earmark lists are available on the House Appropriations subcommittee websites and Senate earmark requests are available on the Senate Appropriations website.

Important Note

Following are links to the latest congressional action, plus a sampling of issues facing the appropriators as reported by Congressional Quarterly and Congress Daily. The numbers in parentheses are the FY 2009 regular appropriations level in billions (not including stimulus funds); the President's FY 2010 request; the House FY 2010 level; and the Senate FY 2010 level; and the Conference Report FY 2010 level.

OMB SAPS

Statements of Administration Policy (SAPS) on the Appropriations Bills are available by clicking here.

Appropriations Bills
 

1. AGRICULTURE ($21.4 / P-$23.6 / H-$22.9 / S-$24.0 / C-$23.3) -- Major issues include increasing FDA funding; overhaul of the food safety system; whether to continue a ban on importation of Chinese poultry; a controversial animal identification system that grew out of concerns about mad cow disease; the President's proposal to end direct payments to farmers with more than $500,000 in annual sales revenue; and the allocation of funding between rural issues and FDA.  Summary Table  House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

2. COMMERCE-JUSTICE-SCIENCE ($57.7 / P-$64.6 / H-64.4 / S-$64.9) --  Major issues include the President's proposed 7% increase over the current year; funds to close Gitmo; a major Southwest Border Initiative; readiness of the Census Bureau for the upcoming census; patent examiners working upaid overtime leading to turnover; NASA's post-space shuttle priorities; and a program to help states defray the costs of jailing illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. Summary Table    House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

3. DEFENSE ($631.9 / P-$640.1 / H-636.3 / S-636.3) not including military construction and housing which are funded in the Mil Con-VA bill -- Major issues include terminating the F-22 fighter program which has been plagued with operational problems and cost over-runs; McCain amendment to eliminate unrequested C-17 cargo aircraft; funding for a 2d engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Figher program; funding for the C-17 transport plane, the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the Missile Defense Agency's Kinetic Energy Interceptor--all of which the Administration wants to end; proposed cuts in the Army's Future Combat Systems; and rising personnel costs.  (Note: the Administration has threatened to veto the Defense Authorization bills if they authorize further funds for the F-22 or disrupt the F-35 program.)   House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

4. ENERGY-WATER ($33.2 / P-$34.4 / H-$33.3 / S-$34.3 / C-$33.5) --  Major issues include how to fund the backlog of Army Corps water infrastructure projects; Defense environmental clean-up; funding for the Administration's "Re-Energyse" proposal (energy innovation centers); how to continue the big boost in renewable energy research after the stimulus bill's funds run out; funds to dispose of weapons grade plutonium under a new agreement with Russia; streamlining approval of new nuclear reactors; and the President's proposal to cut funding for the proposed nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain.  House Bill Summary  Senate Bill Summary

5. FINANCIAL SERVICES-GENERAL GOVT ($22.6 / P-$24.2 / H-$24.15 / S-$24.4) -- Major issues include U.S. policy toward Cuba; education vouchers in the District of Columbia; IRS funding; funding for states to upgrade voting equipment; and a provision requiring GM and Chrysler to reinstitute agreements with certain auto dealerships. Summary Table   House Bill Summary  Senate Report

6. HOMELAND SECURITY ($40.0 / P-$42.8 / H-$42.6 / S-$42.9 / C-$42.8) -- Major issues include funding efforts to find and deport illegal immigrants; whether to further fortify the fence being built along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border; whether to bar release of photos of terrorism detainees; allowing Gitmo detainees into the U.S.; whether the proposal to cut the DHS budget starting in 2012 is realistic; the system for providing federal disaster relief; reorganizing the Federal Protective Service; continuing an "antiquated" Coast Guard navigation system; and increased funding for road and rail security. House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

7. INTERIOR-ENVIRONMENT ($27.6 / P-$32.3 / H-$32.3 / S-$32.1 / $32.2) --  Major issues include boosting EPA funding; earmarks for water projects; eliminating a program to clean up diesel engines in California; adequacy of wildfire funding; drilling in federal lands and waters; and new taxes and fees on the oil and gas industry. House Summary Table   House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

8. LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION ($155 / P-$160.7 / H-$160.6 / S-$163.1) --  Major issues include rejecting the Administration's request to target NIH money at specific diseases; modifications and funding increases for the Pell Grant program; funding for school construction; increased funding for OSHA and LIHEAP; lifting a prohibition on federal funds for needle exchange; and eliminating abstinence-only sex education programs. Summary Table  House Bill Summary  Senate Bill Summary

9. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH ($4.3 / H-$4.9 / S-$4.5 / C-$4.7) -- Major issues include creating a fund to pay for renovation of the Capitol and House and Senate office building; and requests for more staffing at CBO and GAO.  House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

10. MILITARY CONSTRUCTION - VA ($72.9 / P-$77.7 / $H-77.9 / S-$76.7) -- Major issues include advance appropriating FY 2011 funds for VA health care; BRAC funding; housing for trainees; more funds for VA health care for treatment that is not service-connected; and funding for Guard and Reserve initiatives. (Since Jan. 2007, Congress will have increased the baseline for the VA by $20 b, a 58% increase.)  House Bill Summary   House Summary Table   Senate Bill Summary

11. STATE-FOREIGN OPERATIONS ($50.0 / P-$52.0 / H-$48.8 / S-$48.7) -- Major issues include the President's proposed 9% increase for the State Dept. and foreign aid programs; conditions attached to funds for the World Bank and IMF; dropping the "Mexico City" policy that prohibited use of international family planning funds for abortion; funding for Millennium Challenge Corporation (aimed at countries that adopt democratic and free-market policies); and funding for the U.N. Population Fund (which is strongly opposed by anti-abortion groups). House Bill Summary   Senate Bill Summary

12. TRANSPORTATION-HUD ($55.0 / P-$68.9 / H-$68.8 / S-$67.7) -- Major issues include how to make up the shortfall in gasoline tax revenues flowing into the highway trust fund; funding for high speed passenger rail and a national infrastructure bank; funding for a new air traffic control system; additional funding for low-income housing rental vouchers; increasing loan guarantees through the FHA; and capital and safety improvements to Washington's metrorail system.   House Bill Summary    Senate Bill Summary