CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Thursday, September 22, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2608, a bill to provide further continuing appropriations for discretionary government operations. The continuing resolution (CR) is scheduled to be considered as an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2608, which was originally approved in the House as the Small Business Program Extension and Reform Act of 2011. The bill is scheduled to be considered under a rule.
H.R. 2608 would provide short-term appropriated funding for discretionary government operations through November 18, 2011. Under the current CR (H.R. 1473), appropriations are set to expire after September 30, 2011, the end of the fiscal year. H.R. 2608 continues government operations and services and allows time for Congress to continue work on the FY 2012 Appropriations bills that provide annual funding for the federal government. H.R. 2608 would provide $1.043 trillion in appropriated funding for government operations on an annualized basis. This is the same funding level required under budget caps contained in the Budget Control Act and represents a 1.5 percent cut from FY 2011. Compared to FY 2010 spending levels ($1.089 trillion), this CR represents a cut of $46 billion. The bill also includes a total of $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding, offset by reductions to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. H.R. 2608 will be considered subject to an amendment that would rescind $100 million from the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee program which provide $535 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra.
Continuing Appropriations: H.R. 2608 would provide appropriated funding for discretionary government operations through November 18, 2011. The bill would authorize the appropriation of “such amounts as may be necessary” to provide discretionary funding at a level 1.503% below the FY 2011 discretionary spending level. According to CBO, the resolution would provide $1.043 trillion on an annualized basis for FY 2012, a reduction of $7 billion below the FY 2011 level of $1.050 trillion. Under the bill, funds would be available until the earlier of enactment of an applicable appropriations bill or November 18, 2011. Under the bill, entitlements and other mandatory spending whose budget authority was provided in appropriations bills for FY 2011 would be continued at a rate to maintain program levels from FY 2011 through November 18, 2011.
Disaster Relief Funding: H.R. 2608 would provide $1 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers for disaster relief efforts in FY 2011. Of these funds, $774 million would be designated for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) and $226 million would be obligated to the Army Corps for emergency expenses for repair of damage caused by storm and flood events occurring in 2011. These funds would be offset by transferring $1 billion from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. In addition, the bill would rescind $500 million from Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program and $100 million from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program which provides loan guarantees for certain renewable energy systems, electric power transmission systems and biofuels projects. The latter program supplied $535 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra.
In addition to funds provided for FY 2011, the bill would provide $2.65 billion for FEMA’s DRF in FY 2012. H.R. 2608 would requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide a full accounting of disaster relief funding requirements for FY 2012 no later than 15 days after the date of enactment of the legislation.
Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: The bill would authorize the appropriation of $118.7 billion for “Overseas Contingency Operations” (OCO) to fund operations related to the global war on terrorism, including ongoing activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funding for OCO is the same amount provided for FY 2012 by H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2012. OCO funding would be designated as emergency and would not count against the discretionary spending caps contained in the Budget Control Act. Funding for OCO in the CR would represent a reduction of $39.1 billion from the $157.8 billion authorized for FY 2011.
U.S. Postal Service Payment Delay: The bill would delay a current requirement that the U.S. Postal Service make a $5.5 billion payment into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund before the end of FY 2011. The bill would delay the required payment until November 18, 2011.
Small Business: The bill would extend the authority to continue the Small Business Innovation Research Program, the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, and a commercialization pilot program to accelerate the transition of technologies developed under the Small Business Innovation Research Program. These programs would be authorized through November 18, 2011.
Flood Insurance: The bill would extend the authority to make deposits into the National Flood Insurance Fund and grant new contracts for flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program through November 18, 2011.
Burmese Freedom Act: H.R. 2806 would renew import restrictions against Burma contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. Due to annual sunset requirements of the law, the sanctions have been renewed every year since 2003. Similar legislation (H.J. Res. 66) was passed in the House on voice vote earlier this year.
FHA Loan Guarantees: The bill would stipulate that loan guarantees through Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) General Insurance Fund and Special Risk Insurance Fund may not exceed a rate of $25 billion, and that total loan principal would be apportioned at $80 million multiplied by the number of days covered in the measure.
Export-Import Bank: The bill would extend the authorities of the Export-Import Bank through November 18, 2011.
Secret Service Investigations: The bill would extend the authority of the Secret Service to use funds to conduct undercover investigations.
Stimulus Accountability: The bill would provide $28.3 million for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which is charged with providing oversight of funding from the “stimulus” bill.
Terrorism Rewards: The bill would extend the authority of the Department of Defense to offer cash rewards for terrorist suspects.
Mine Safety and Health Administration: The bill would provide $374 million for the Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration for salaries and expenses.
On April 14, 20011, the House approved H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 by a vote of 260-167. The legislation was signed into law the following day. The bill provided appropriated funding for government operations funded by all 12 annual appropriations bills through the remainder of FY 2011. The net effect of the bill—including the increase for DoD and the reductions for other spending—reduced discretionary spending by $39.88 billion from FY 2010 levels. Compared to the President’s request, the bill reduced net spending by $78.5 billion. The bill provided a total of $1.050 trillion in budget authority for FY 2011, a reduction of 3.7 percent below FY 2010 budget authority. The bill also limited budget authority for non-DoD appropriations $536.7 billion, a reduction of $44.8 billion or 7.7 percent below FY 2010. Funding under H.R. 1473 is set to expire at midnight on September 30, 2011.
On August 1, 2011, the House approved S. 365, the Budget Control Act, by a vote of 269-161 and the legislation was signed by the president the following day. Among a number of other provisions, the bill established discretionary spending limits, subject to the sequestration process previously described. The bill also prohibited the House and Senate from considering legislation that would increase spending beyond the discretionary limits in the bill, subject to a point of order. According to CBO, these discretionary spending limits will reduce discretionary outlays relative to CBO’s current baseline by $756 billion over ten years. Under the spending caps outlined in the Budget Control Act, non-emergency discretionary spending in FY 2012 may not exceed $1.043 trillion, of which security spending may not exceed $684 billion. H.R. 2608 would provide temporary discretionary government funding at the capped level set by the Budget Control Act.
According to CBO, H.R. 2608 would provide $1.043 trillion in discretionary funding for government operations on an annualized basis. Funding under H.R. 2608 would expire on November 18, 2011.