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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. 2: Senate invoked cloture on a measure to extend expiring unemployment benefits and the first-time hombuyers tax credit.
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 contining resolution to keep the government operating through December 18.
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
- October 29: House leadership introduced a bill combining a Medicare "doc fix" and statutory PAYGO (HR 3961)
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 November to retain the estate tax at 2009 levels for future years.
Health Reform: Pelosi Releases Leadership Version of Health Reform; CBO Releases Scoring
Last Thursday (10/29), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a new version of health reform (HR 3962) that merges and refines the bills reported in July by three House Committees (Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Education & Labor).
In a nutshell, HR 3962 would: (1) establish a mandate for legal residents of the US to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, and for employers (except small businesses) to offer insurance or pay a penalty; (2) require private insurers to accept all applicants and not discriminate against individuals having pre-existing conditions; (3) establish insurance "exchanges" through which low-income individuals/familes could purchase federally subsidized insurance from private insurers or the federal government; (4) significantly expand Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor; and (5) pay for the new subsidies and Medicaid coverage by cutting projected Medicare payments to health providers and imposing a surtax on wealthy individuals and families.
Details follow (numbers refer to the 10-year period 2010-2019):
Total Direct Spending Costs: $1.055 trillion -- $605 b in subsidies; $425 b in net outlays for Medicaid and CHIP; and $25 b in tax credits for small employers. (Other effects on tax revenues and outlays would increase deficits by $6 b.)
Additional Costs (Subject to Appropriations Committee Action): IRS costs to implement subsidies ($5 - $10b); HHS costs to make required changes in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP ($5 - $10 b); and up to $34 b to finance various public health, prevention, and wellness programs.
Offsets that Pay For Increased Coverage: $426 b from reduced Medicare payments to providers (and other spending changes); $572 b from an income tax surcharge on high-income individuals (more than $500 K) and couples (more than $1 m); and $167 billion in penalty payments by individuals and employees. The largest Medicare savings would result from reducing the rate of growth in Medicare provider payments by $229 b, and reducing payments to Medicare Advantage private managed care plans by $170 b.
Net deficit reduction: $104 billion over 2010-2019, although most of that is due to creation of a long-term care insurance entitlement (CLASS)--see below--that would generate premium income in the early years, but higher deficits in later years.
Outyear Deficit Reduction: After 2019, "the added revenues and costs savings are projected to grow slightly more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansions." However, this projection is based on the arguably shaky assumption that "Medicare spending would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 6% during the next two decades--well below the roughly 8% annual growth rate of the past two decades, despite a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries as the baby-boom generation retires."
- In comparison with the Senate Finance Committee-passed bill, CBO concluded in a recent analysis that the Finance Committee bill would be more likely to reduce long-term deficits than the House Leadership bill. Specifically, the Finance bill is projected to reduce deficits during FY 2020-2029 between one-quarter and one-half percent of GDP, while the House Leadership bill is projected to be in the range of zero to one-quarter percent of GDP.
Improved Coverage: Insurers must accept all applicants, cannot discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, and could not vary premiums to reflect differences in enrollees' health. Share of legal, nonelderly U.S. residents with insurance coverage would rise from 83% to 96% by 2019--but still leave about 12 million uninsured.
"Play or Pay" (Employer Mandate): Employers would have to offer insurance to their employees and contribute a substantial share toward the premiums, or pay a fee to the federal government of 8% of payroll; small employers (with an annual payroll of less than $750,000) would either pay a lower rate or be exempt.
Small Business Subsidy: Firms with few employees and relatively low wages would be eligible for tax credits to cover up to half of their contributions toward health insurance premiums.
Insurance Exchanges and Public Option: People w/o employer insurance could purchase insurance through new "exchanges," choosing between private insurers and a new public health insurance option (administered by HHS). The public option would negotiate payment rates with all providers and suppliers. CBO projects that public option premiums would be somewhat higher than average private insurance premiums due in part to attracting a less healthy pool of enrollees. By 2019, about 30 million would purchase coverage through exchanges, including 6 million electing the public option.
Subsidies: Individuals and families 150% - 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) would be federally subsidized when they purchase insurance through an exchange. Premiums would vary by geographic area to reflect differences in average spending and would also vary by age. The maximum enrollees would have to pay would range from 1.5% for those up to 133% of FPL to 12% for those up to 400% of FPL. CBO Table Showing Average Premium Subsidies and Cost-Sharing
- Example: A family of four with income of $54,000 (225% of FPL in 2016) could expect to pay a premium of about $3,900 (after getting a premium subsidy of 74%) and could expect to pay another $2300 in cost sharing, for a total of $6,200 or about 11 percent of income.
Medicaid expansion: Starting in 2013, nonelderly with incomes below 150% of FPL would be eligible for Medicaid -- a major change from the patchwork eligibility rules currently in place. By 2019, 15 million more enrollees in Medicaid. Federal government would pay on average 91% of the new Medicaid coverage costs (as compared with an average federal contribution of 57% currently).
New Long-Term Care Entitlement (CLASS): The bill would establish a voluntary federal program for long-term care insurance that would show net deficit reduction of $72 billion over the first 10 years (due to premiums exceeding benefits in the early years.) However, CBO projects that "in the decade following 2029, the CLASS program would begin to increase budget deficits." See Concord Coalition Statement on the CLASS legislation
Reducing Health Care Expenditures: Promote efficiency through HHS promulgating standards for electronic transactions; facilitate the use of "follow-on" (generic) biologics; inject competition into the health insurance market through the health exchange public option which CBO says would "place some downward pressure on the premiums of private plans operating in the exchanges."
No Physician Pay Fix: Unlike the previous House versions of health reform, this new House version would not fix the Medicare physician payment system (known as sustainable growth rate or "SGR") even though it is widely accepted that Congress will overturn the scheduled physician pay cuts. (Current law calls for a 21% reduction in physician payment rates in 2010.) The prior House bill (HR 3200) would have fixed the SGR at a cost of $245 billion. Omitting an SGR fix therefore understates the cost of health reform by nearly $250 billion. Concord Coalition Says that Doc Fix Should be Paid For
State Medicaid Assistance: The bill would extend for 6 months a provision that requires the federal government to pay a larger share of Medicaid costs through what is known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). This is designed to provide further recession relief to cash-strapped state government at a cost of $23 billion.
Health Reform Lacks a Fail-Safe Mechanism to Prevent Worsening of Deficits
As noted in the preceding article, CBO's projection that new spending under the House health reform bill will not cause outyear deficits is based on the arguably shaky assumption that "Medicare spending would increase at an average annual rate of roughly 6% during the next two decades--well below the roughly 8% annual growth rate of the past two decades, despite a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries as the baby-boom generation retires."
This assumption is of particular concern given recent history -- i.e., the adoption of Medicare physician payment restraints in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, that have been overriden by Congress in each of the last 8 years.
Moreover, the House health reform bill is based upon the unrealistic assumption that Medicare's payment rates for physicians' services will drop sharply for much of the coming decade (under the Sustainable Growth Rate schedule referred to in the preceding article).
Consequently, the House should include in its health reform bill the establishment of an Independent Medicare Commission, as recommended by the President and Senate Finance Committee. See "The Importance of a Cost Control Enforcement Entity in Health Care Reform Legislation"
Moreover, it might be prudent for Congress to include in health reform a "fail-safe mechanism" designed to ensure that if cost-saving offsets do not materialize as currently projected, an automatic mechanism would maintain health reform's deficit neutrality. There are a variety of ways to construct a fail-safe mechanism. For example: a fail-safe mechanism could task the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with establishing a baseline of current projections for health reform legislation--with annual assessments of where federal health expenditures and offsets stand in relation to the initial projections.
If health reform is falling short of baseline projections and leading us into deeper deficits, a fail-safe mechanism could require OMB to implement a series of legislatively prescribed measures, or alternatively, a review commission could be tasked with developing offsetting measures to submit to Congress for a required vote.
Obviously, finding the right mix of automatic adjustments or developing a package of offsetting measures would be challenging--both technically and politically--but similar mechanisms have been successful in the past, for example, under the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990.
See the letter from Concord Coalition co-chairs and former Senators Bob Kerrey and Warren Rudman, stating in part that "there will be an ongoing need to ensure that assumed savings are realized, guard against unintended consequences, and provide a means to implement future 'curve bending' reforms."
Health Reform: What's Next?
House Floor Action Delayed Due to Abortion and Immigration Concerns
Congressional Quarterly reports that "differences among House Democrats over issues related to abortion and immigration have forced Democratic leaders to delay floor action on health care legislation until the end of the week." However, whenever the House Floor debate takes place, it is unlikely to exceed one or two days due to the ability of the Rules Committee (acting on behalf of the Speaker) to limit Floor debate and amendments -- unlike the Senate where the measure will be open to unlimited debate and amendments.
House Republicans are reportedly close to releasing their own version of health reform which they hope to offer as a substitute amendment when the House takes up health reform. Kaiser Health News article on House GOP plan
Senate Floor Action Delayed due to CBO Scoring Issues and Dissent over Public Option
According to Congress Daily, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not expected to receive until next week Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring which he needs to complete his health reform bill. Reid and his staff are in the process of merging the Senate Finance and HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee bills into a final product that can garner 60 votes in the Senate (to invoke cloture and stop a Republican filibuster). Time is running short for Reid to bring a bill to the Senate Floor before Thanksgiving -- a necessity if House and Senate Democrats expect to move a bill through a House-Senate conference in December.
Overcoming the 60-vote hurdle will be difficult in view of statements by several Senate Democrats that they cannot support a bill that includes a public option. Most recently, Senator Lieberman's (I-CT) communications director reiterated the Senator's position that he will not support any bill containing a public option. Similar statements have been made by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
Landrieu has recently indicated that she is working with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on an amendment that would tie a public health insurance option to a trigger. "If the private market fails to perform or refuses to perform then there could be a fallback option....It should be triggered by choice and affordability, not by political whim," Landrieu said.
If Reid is unable to construct a compromise bill that can garner 60 votes, Democrats may still have to resort to a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill that requires only a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. The downside of Reconciliation is that the bill could include only provisions that have a federal budget impact, which means that many of the insurance sector reforms (such as prohibitions on pre-existing condition restrictions, and annual and lifetime benefit limits) would have to drop out of the bill.
Unemployment Benefits, PAYGO, and Other Budget News
Unemployment benefits, Homebuyers Tax Credit, and Recession Relief for Businesses
Extension of expiring unemployment benefits were stalled for close to two weeks due to disputes between Senate Democrats and Republicans over what amendments Republicans would be permitted to offer. However, on Monday the Senate voted to invoke cloture (i.e., bring debate to a close) on a substitute amendment that would extend unemployment benefits and also includes extension of the expiring $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit.
The unemployment measure would allow workers in all 50 states to draw 14 weeks of federal unemployment benefits after exhausting their regular 26 weeks of state compensation. It would also provide an additional six weeks in states with unemployment rates higher than 8.5%. By contrast, the House version of the bill would provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits only to people in high-unemployment states.
The measure also includes a "5-year net operating loss carryback provision" that would allow businesses currently operating at a loss to offset their losses against taxes paid in previous years, generating a tax refund.
Offsets: The unemployment extension would be paid for by an extension of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. The homebuyers credit and the net operating loss carryback provision would be paid for by delaying the effective date of a law that gives multinational corporations more flexibility in how they handle their interest expenses, and an increase in penalties on companies that fail to file a partnership or S corporation federal tax return.
EPA Budget Gets a Boost
The Environmental Protection Agency budget got a big boost on October 30 when the President signed the FY 2010 Interior-Enivornment Appropriations Act. The funding bill increased EPA's regular budget from $7.6 billion in FY 2009 to $10.3 billion in FY 2010 -- almost a one-third increase. Significant increases went to drinking water and wastewater systems; protection of the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, and the Chesapeake Bay; toxic site cleanup; and climate change programs. According to Congressional Quarterly, EPA's budget rose 82% between 1978 and 2008, compared with a sixfold increase in total federal outlays.
GAO Recommends that Treasury Lengthen Maturity Dates
In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that "debt held by the public will double in 5 years (from 2008 to 2013) and almost triple in 11 years (from 2008 to 2019) -- reaching 82 percent of GDP." GAO recommends that "in order to meet these challenges Treasury needs to diversity its funding sources and lengthen the term-to-maturity of its debt portfolio" in order to take advantage of currently low interest rates. Specifically, the GAO recommends issuing more inflation-indexed securities (TIPS) which pay a lower interest rate in exchange for inflation protection.
House Dems Introduce New "Doc Fix" Bill including Statutory PAYGO
With the recent failure in the Senate of legislation to repeal the current Medicare physician payment system (known as Sustainable Growth Rate, or "SGR"), House Democrats introduced a new bill (HR 3961) on October 29 that would eliminate the current system and replace it with payment updates based on inflation. The bill does not include any offsets and would likely have a 10-year cost close to $250 billion. However, the bill would re-enact statutory PAYGO legislation requiring all future tax cuts and mandatory spending increases to be offset.
The Concord Coalition strongly supports re-enactment of statutory PAYGO, but has also called on Congress to fully offset the cost of fixing the Medicare physician payment system. Concord Coalition Statement
Last Friday, 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.
*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 / $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
Recent Budget Documents
America's Priorities (new edition to be released by the Concord Coalition in December 2009)