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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).
- Week of Oct. 26: Senate will take up legislation that would provide 14 weeks of unemployment aid in all 50 states. Those in states with high jobless rates--defined as a three-month average rate of at lease 8.5%--would get an additional six weeks of benefits for a total of 20 weeks.
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).
- Week of October 26: Consideration of 2d continuing resolution
- 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.
3. Stabilizing the Financial, Housing, and Auto Sectors
- Concord's Financial Crisis Timeline w/ links
- Feb. 10: Treasury released Financial Stability Plan.
- Feb. 18: President announced Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan
- Feb. 26: President released 2010 budget including a $250 billion contingent reserve for additional financial stabilization
- March 3: Treasury and Fed announced launch of TALF to boost consumer, small business credit
- March 18: Fed announced plan to pump $1.15 trillion into financial markets
- March 23: Treasury announced plan to purchase "toxic assets"
- March 26: Treasury Secretary announced regulatory overhaul for financial industry
- May 7: Results of bank stress tests released
- June 17: White House, Treasury released comprehensive plan for regulatory reform
- Sept. 14: President's Speech in New York at Federal Hall on Financial Rescue and Reform
- Sept. 29: AP reports that the FDIC is looking at ways to overcome a cash shortfall due to nearly 100 bank failures this year; the FDIC could require that banks prepay their insurance premiums.
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
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)
- December: The Administration is hoping for legislative action in the Senate before U.N. climate change talks in Denmark in December.
6. Highway Bill (FY 2010-15)
- September 2008: Due to a shortfall in Highway Trust Fund revenues, Congress passed PL 110-318, providing an $8.017 billion transfer from the Treasury's general fund to the HTF.
- Highway Bill.--Leaders of key congressional committees have been negotiating the parameters of the next multiyear highway bill for fiscal years 2010-2015. However, the Obama Administration has signaled an interest in putting off consideration of a multiyear highway bill due to cost issues -- opting instead for an 18-month extension of current law--but even that will require finding $20 billion in revenues, since the federal gas tax is generating insufficient revenues to fund highway programs.
- 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 September 30, when the current Highway Bill expires.
- October 1, 2009: The first FY 2010 CR included a temporary extension of the expiring highway authorization bill. Negotiations are continuing on another short-term extension that presumes passage of a 6-year highway bill by the end of this year or early next year. 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 falls short.
- 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.
7. Statutory PAYGO
- June 9: White House Summary
- June 17: Majority Leader Hoyer Introduced PAYGO Bill (HR 2920) Press Release Blue Dog Statement
- June 25: House Budget Committee Hearing on PAYGO
- Concord Coalition Issue Brief on PAYGO
- July 22: House passed HR 2920 by a vote of 265-166 (but includes major exemptions)
- August 6: Eight Senate Democrats introduce PAYGO legislation w/o exemptions
- Late October: House leadership considering attaching PAYGO to estate tax legislation (including the major exemptions)
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
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
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 early November to retain the estate tax at 2009 levels for future years.
Health Reform: Reid Opts for Public Option but 60 Votes Are Uncertain; Reconciliation Still Looms as Fallback
Senate: Reid Moves Forward With "Opt-Out" Public Plan; 60 Votes Uncertain
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a decision to move forward with a health reform package that includes a public health insurance option, but allows states to "opt-out." The plan has been sent to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for scoring. The Reid plan would also retain the consumer-owned "co-ops" included in the Finance Committee plan.
Reid's decision was made during the course of negotiations to merge the Senate Finance Committee health plan (Baucus plan) and the HELP Committee plan (shepherded by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT).
What remains unclear is how close Reid is to securing 60 votes for the plan in order to overcome a Republican filibuster. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)--the only Senate Finance Committee Republican to support the Baucus plan--has already expressed her opposition to the "opt-out" plan, so Reid needs to corral every Senate Democrat plus Independent Joe Lieberman (I-CT). (Snowe has said she will support a public option only if it is made contingent on a finding that private insurance plans sold through exchanges had failed to lower health care costs; this has been dubbed the "trigger option.")
Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) has said the leadership is still at the "earliest stages" of a whip count. Leadership is trying to get commitments from Democrats to at least vote for cloture to shut down a Republican filibuster, even if they do not support the final plan, as amended on the Senate Floor. Democratic votes that may be difficult to nail down include Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).
[Why are 60 votes required?--The Senate cannot vote on passage of a measure until debate has concluded. Opponents of a bill can block a vote on any amendment or the final passage of the bill itself simply by continuing debate--known as a "filibuster." Cutting off a filibuster--known as cloture--requires 60 votes.]
National Journal's Congress Daily reports that other issues still under discussion by Senate health negotiators include whether the final bill will include an employer mandate; long term care insurance; the tax on high-cost "Cadillac" health plans; and the affordability of insurance plans under the proposed Health Exchanges.
Long-Term Care Insurance Remains An Issue in the Senate
The Concord Coalition has raised concerns about including a new long-term care entitlement in the health reform bill. Ironically, the provision, which was included in the HELP Committee bill, was scored by CBO as saving money in the short-term (because premiums are paid for 5 years before anyone is "vested" to receive benefits). However, over the long-term, there is a substantial risk that the new entitlement would increase deficits, as constituent pressure grows to increase benefits, but not premiums.
Senator Bayh (D-IN) has raised similar concerns that the new entitlement could lead to "an unfunded situation that could really explode the deficit in the outyears." According to Congress Daily, Bayh raised the issue with Reid who said he had submitted bills to CBO with and without the provision.
House: Pelosi Has Hurdles to Reach 218 Votes
House Democratic Leadership is still counting votes to determine which version of a public option will end up in the bill they bring to the Floor. The two options currently being floated are a public option linked to Medicare payment rates (plus 5% for physicians), and another option based on negotiated rates. Leaders will have to determine if either approach can garner 218 Democratic votes (since solid Republican opposition is anticipated).
Leadership also faces challenges in the area of cost containment. Recently, 36 fiscally conservative Democrats in the House conditioned their support of health reform on cost containment. In a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer, the three dozen Democrats said, "CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf has already indicated that the bill being considered by the House does nothing to rein in the cost of health care, and therefore may not be sustainable outside the ten-year budget window. We will be unable to support any health care legislation that doesn't meet the president's goals of driving down and holding down the cost of health care, as determined by CBO." However, the letter's signers praise the Senate Finance Committee bill for cutting $81 billion from the deficit over the first 10 years, while reducing projected health costs in subsequent years. The letter was organized by Representatives John Barrow (D-GA) and Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA). Letter to Pelosi and Hoyer from Fiscally Conservative Democrats
Reconciliation Fallback Still Looms
If 60 votes cannot be achieved in the Senate, the FY 2010 Budget Resolution gives congressional leaders the option to avoid the 60-vote hurdle and pass a filibuster-proof health reform bill with a simple majority of 50 votes. This procedure is known as "budget reconciliation." The advantage of reconciliation is that it is filibuster-proof. The disadvantage is that under the Senate's "Byrd Rule," reconciliation bills can only contain measures that are "budgetary" in nature, i.e., provisions that do not impact the federal budget would have to be dropped from health reform. These could include many of the insurance reforms such as prohibitions on pre-existing condition clauses, and annual and lifetime caps on insurance benefits (although the provisions could be packaged and considered as a non-filibuster proof regular bill).
Reconciliation also serves as a fallback if a House-Senate conference cannot produce a compromise bill that can garner 218 votes in the House and 60 votes in the Senate (for example, due to lack of agreement on a public option.)
Senate: Doctor-Pay Fix Stalled Due to Deficit Impact; Another 1-year "Patch" is Likely
Deficit concerns prevailed, as the Senate failed last Wednesday (October 21) to override automatic cuts scheduled to take place in Medicare Physician payments (known as the "Sustainable Growth Rate" or SGR payment schedule). Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), 12 Democrats, and independent Joe Lieberman (I-CT) joined Republicans in defeating an attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to invoke cloture and bring the measure to a vote. Conrad and others objected to the fact that the $247 billion 10-year cost to override the SGR payment schedule would not have been paid for.
The Concord Coalition strongly supported Chairman Conrad's efforts to block the measure which would have added significantly to the already spiraling federal debt. Concord Coalition Statement on Medicare "Doc" Fix
House leadership is similarly seeking to fix the SGR problem by freezing physician pay and canceling required cuts--but has attempted to address the concerns of fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats by promising that PAYGO legislation passed by the House in July would first become law. That bill would, in general, require that new tax cuts and mandatory spending increases by offset by tax increases and/or spending cuts.
However, while generally imposing a statutory pay-as-you-go requirement, the PAYGO bill passed by the House in July would exempt the Medicare doc fix from the PAYGO requirement. Moreover, the House-passed PAYGO bill would also exempt: extension of the Bush tax cuts (at a 10-yr cost of more than $2 trillion), fixing the estate tax before it jumps back to pre-2001 levels (at a cost of more than $250 billion), and fixing the Alternative Minimum Tax so it doesn't impact middle income taxpayers (at a 10-yr cost around $500 billion). See The Concord Coalition Issue Brief on PAYGO
Background.--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" and tied future Medicare physician payment rates to past spending.
Doctors complain about the SGR formula because it did not allow doctor's payments to keep pace with medical cost growth and Congress stepped in almost every year since 2002 to stop the SGR automatic cuts from being implemented. This has caused a rapidly increasing gap between current Medicare physician payments and the SGR rate required by the 1997 law. Consequently, payment rates under the SGR physician fee schedule are due to fall by about 21 percent in 2010 and by about 5 percent annually for at least several years thereafter.
Appropriations Remain Unfinished; Second Continuing Resolution This Week
Thus far, Congress has completed action on only 4 of the 12 regular appropriations bills for FY 2010 (which began October 1, 2009): Agriculture; Energy-Water; Homeland Security; and Legislative Branch.
Funding Trick-or-Treat: This weekend (October 31st at midnight), the "continuing resolution" that has been keeping federal agencies operating in the absence of regular appropriations bills will expire. Consequently, Congress will have to act this week to pass a second continuing resolution for FY 2010.
Background.--In recent years, appropriations bills have seldom been completed by the start of the new fiscal year. In the last 33 years Congress has, only four times, completed all of its annual appropriations bills by the start of the new fiscal year.
However, the Constitution is very clear that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” In addition, in 1870 Congress enacted the Anti-Deficiency Act strictly prohibiting Federal programs from operating without specific budget authority appropriated by Congress. Put simply, without appropriations, Federal managers have no legal authority to obligate the U.S. government’s resources.
Therefore, when appropriations are not enacted by October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, Federal departments and agencies must shut down, in the absence of a continuing resolution or "CR" -- which authorize agencies to continue current programs for a period of time according to a formula, usually the previous year’s levels, or the lower of the funding levels in the House-passed or Senate-passed bill. (The CR for FY 2010 funds most programs at their 2009 funding level through October 31, 2009.) The number of continuing resolutions needed until all programs are funded for the new fiscal year can vary dramatically depending on how contentious the funding issues are.
CRs are also often used to temporarily extend expiring programs or limitations until legislative action has been completed. The first FY 2010 CR temporarily continued intelligence programs, Guantanamo Bay restrictions, stop-loss payments to US troops, child nutrition programs, surface and aviation transportation programs, numerous housing programs, flood insurance, certain visa programs, the "E-verify" program, the chemical facility security program, and the Ryan White AIDS funding program.
In addition to temporarily continuing funding to avoid government shutdowns, continuing resolutions are also frequently used as the legislative vehicle for “omnibus appropriations bills.” These are bills that package together all of the unfinished appropriations bills.
There is much opposition to the use of omnibus appropriations bills both within and outside the Congress, because the sheer length of the bills makes it impossible for any Member of Congress to exercise anything close to due diligence in understanding the totality of what they are voting on. Yet, getting to closure on the new year’s funding levels at the end of a congressional session very often leads to the legislative vehicle everyone loves to hate—the omnibus appropriations bill. (In recent years, when eight, ten, or all of the regular appropriations bills are packaged together, they are referred to as an omnibus appropriations bill. When four or five bills are packaged together, it has become common—in budget-speak—to call them a “minibus.”)
For example, for FY 2010, Congress may end up passing separate conference reports for 6 or 7 appropriations bills that were acted on by both the House and Senate (and subsequently conferenced), with a minibus covering the remaining bills attached to a CR later this fall.
Estate Tax Cut is Looming -- WITHOUT OFFSETS
If you thought you'd seen all of the major deficit-increasing bills of 2009, guess again. Here comes the estate tax cut. As explained in greater detail below, current law calls for the estate tax to be repealed in 2010 and then return to pre-2001 levels in 2011. To address this, many in Congress are proposing to continue the estate tax at the current 2009 level. The problem is that, compared to current law, that will cost the Treasury nearly $250 billion over 10 years.
Quarter Trillion Dollars in New Debt.--Of great concern to the Concord Coalition is that Congress is heading in the direction of failing to offset this enormous cost to the Treasury. Ironically, this quarter trillion in new debt would be incurred in order to shield America's wealthiest taxpayers from the currently scheduled increase in the estate tax in 2011.
Background.--The Federal estate and gift tax is a high-profile public policy issue that, unfortunately, is widely misunderstood due to a lot of ideology muddying the waters. Here are the facts:
- The estate and gift tax is a minor slice of the revenue pie, accounting for only 1% of Federal revenues.
- Because of the estate and gift tax “exemption,” as well as various deductions, the estate and gift tax impacts only a tiny percentage of Americans. For example, only 2% of all deaths in the United States in tax year 2001 resulted in estate tax liability; in 2008, an estimated 0.5% of estates were taxed, due to the increasing exemption.
- The Federal estate tax is applied when property is transferred at death. After deductions and exemptions, the remaining amount is subject to graduated rates of taxation up to 45% as estate size increases.
- An unlimited marital deduction is allowed for property transferred to a surviving spouse. Other allowable deductions include charitable contributions and estate administration expenses. In addition, the so-called unified credit exempts the first $3.5 million of an estate from tax. This is the primary reason why the estate tax impacts only a very small percentage of the estates in the nation.
- The major tax cut legislation enacted in 2001 phased out the estate tax over 2002 to 2010. However, due to the Senate’s Byrd Rule (explained in chapter 2-2), which was designed to prevent the use of expedited budget procedures for legislation that would increase deficits over the long term, the estate tax reverts to pre-2001 levels in 2011. This means that—absent a change in tax law—as of January 1, 2010 the estate tax is repealed and as of January 1, 2011 the estate tax will be reinstated with a pre-2001 exemption level of $1 million and a 55% top tax rate.
- The Federal gift tax operates in conjunction with the estate tax to prevent people from shielding their property from estate taxes by making gifts to heirs prior to death. Each year individuals can make gifts of $12,000 to as many individual recipients as they wish, without being subject to the gift tax. However, any amount in excess of this per-person gift limit is applied to a lifetime gift exclusion amount of $1 million. At time of death, the cumulative amount of gift tax exclusion used by the decedent reduces the estate tax exemption (currently set at $3.5 million).
Myths and Facts
Myth: The estate tax broadly impacts America’s families.
Fact: Actually, 99.8% of Americans pay no estate tax due to the large exemption amount—currently $3.5 million. Only the wealthiest 0.2% of Americans pay estate tax.
Myth: The estate tax poses a serious threat to the survival of small farms and other types of small businesses that lack the liquidity to pay the estate tax.
Fact: According to the Congressional Research Service, “recent estimates suggest that only a tiny fraction of family owned businesses (less than one-half of 1%) are subject to the estate tax but do not have readily available resources to pay the tax.” With regard to farmers, a CBO study in 2005 estimated that when the estate tax exemption level increased to $3.5 million in 2009, only 65 farm estates nationwide would owe any tax, and only 13 might lack sufficient liquidity to pay the estate tax. In 2005, the New York Times reported that neither the American Farm Bureau Federation nor the National Cattleman’s Beef Association could cite a single case of a farm lost to estate taxes.
Myth: Repeal of the estate tax will not increase the Federal Debt.
Fact: Enacting legislation to permanently repeal the estate tax would cost the Treasury $281 billion over FY 2011 to FY 2015—at a time when the U.S. Treasury will already be burdened with rapidly escalating Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense, and homeland security expenditures.
Last week the Senate passed the Homeland Security conference report clearing it for the President. To date, appropriations action has been completed on only 4 of the 12 regular appropriations bills: Agriculture, Energy-Water, Homeland Security, and Legislative Branch. Appropriators hope to complete action this week on the Interior-Environment appropriation conference report. The Senate may also return to floor consideration of its Commerce-Justice-Science bill, and could also take up the Military Construction-VA spending bill.
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.
*polled out (no formal subcommittee vote)
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.
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) -- 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
Recent Budget Documents
America's Priorities (new edition to be released by the Concord Coalition in December 2009)