H.R. 2918 Conference Report: Conference Report Accompanying H.R. 2918, the FY 2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act and Provisions Making Continuing Appropriations for FY 2010

H.R. 2918

Conference Report Accompanying H.R. 2918, the FY 2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act and Provisions Making Continuing Appropriations for FY 2010

Sponsor
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Date
September 25, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider the conference report accompanying H.R. 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, on Friday, September 25, 2009.  The conference report also contains legislation to enact a one month continuing resolution (CR) that would be subject to a point of order had it not been waived by the rule.  H.R. 2918 was passed in the House on June 19, 2009, by a vote of 232-178.  The Senate passed their version of the bill on July 6, 2009, by a vote of 67-25.  On the evening of September 23, House Democrats made the surprise announcement that a Conference Committee would be convened and that H.R. 2918 would be used as a vehicle to pass the CR.

Bill Summary

Division A-Conference Report to H.R. 2918, the FY 2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act

Legislative Branch Conference Report (in thousands)

 

FY 2009 Enacted

Senate Passed

House Passed (excludes Senate)

Conference Report

Conference Report vs. FY 2009

Appropriation

4,402,000

4,611,666

3,674,500

4,656,031

254,031

Emergency Spending

98,606

0

0

0

-98,606

Total

4,500,606

4,611,666

3,674,500

4,656,031

155,425

 

The conference report accompanying H.R. 2918, the Fiscal Year 2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, contains a total of $4.656 billion for all legislative branch agencies, including the Senate, which is $254 million or 5.7 percent, above the FY 2009 appropriated level.  The bill's spending highlights and other provisions are highlighted below.

House of Representatives:  The bill contains $1.369 billion for the House of Representatives, which is an increase of $67.7 million or 5.2 percent, over FY 2009.  The House funding is provided as follows:

  • MRA:  Provides $660 million for the Member's Representational Allowances (MRAs), an increase of $51 million or 8.4 percent over FY 2009.  MRAs are provided to Members of the House to pay for employees and other related expenses for each Member's office.  Unspent MRA funds are used for deficit or debt reduction.
  • Leadership:  Provides $25.8 million for House leadership offices, a $700,000 or 2.8 percent increase over FY 2009.
  • Committees:  Provides a total of $171 million for all standing, special, and select committees and their staffs, a decrease of $14.2 million or 7.7 percent from FY 2009.
  • Officers of the House:  Provides $198.3 million for the salaries and expenses of House officers and employees, an increase of $10.4 million or 5.5 percent over FY 2009.  The funding supports the offices and staff of various House Officers, including the Chief Administrative Officer, the Clerk, the Sergeant at Arms, the Inspector General, the Chaplain, the General Counsel, the Parliamentarian, and the Historian.
  • Allowances and Expenses:  Provides $313.6 million for House allowances and expenses, which is $19.7 million or 6.7 percent above FY 2009.  The funds are used to pay for employee benefits, supplies, materials, administrative costs, and federal tort claims, as well as the costs of official mail for the committees, leadership, and administrative offices.   87 percent of these funds provide the employer share of retirement, health care, and unemployment compensation payments for House employees.

Senate:  Provides $926.1 million for the Senate, an increase of $31.1 million or 3.5 percent over FY 2009.                                                  

Joint Items: Provides $21.3 million for the various joint committees, including the Joint Economic Committee, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Office of the Attending Physician.  Funding for these items is $7.9 million or 27 percent below FY 2009. 

Capitol Police:  Provides $328.3 million for the salaries and expenses of the U.S. Capitol Police, which is $22.6 million or 7.4 percent above FY 2009.  The Capitol Police also received $71 million for the Capitol Police to acquire a new, modernized digital radio system.

Office of Compliance:  Provides $4.3 million for the Office of Compliance, which is $300,000 above FY 2009.  The Office of Compliance enforces various employment and workplace safety laws that apply to Congress and certain legislative branch entities. 

CBO:  Provides $45.1 million for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), $1.1 million above FY 2009.

Architect of the Capitol:  Provides $601 million for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), which is an increase of $72 million or 13.6 percent over FY 2009, and an increase of $60 million above the House-passed level.  The funds support AOC general administration, the Historic Buildings Revitalization Trust Fund, Capitol building maintenance, Capitol grounds, House office buildings and grounds, the Capitol power plant, the Capitol Visitors Center and the Botanic Garden.

Library of Congress:  Provides $643.3 million for the Library of Congress (LOC), an increase of $36.3 million or 6 percent above FY 2009 and $4 million less than the House-passed level.

GPO:  Provides $147.4 million for the Government Printing Office (GPO), $6.9 million or 5 percent above FY 2009.

GAO:  Provides $556.8 million for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an increase of $800,000 or 0.1 percent above FY 2009.

Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund:  Provides $12 million for the Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund, which is $1.9 million or 14 percent below FY 2009. 

John C. Stennis Center:  Provides $430,000 for the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development, the same amount as FY 2009.  The center is meant to encourage public service by congressional staff through training and development programs.

Legislative Branch Spending in Millions (House total does not include Senate funding)

Program

FY 2009 Enacted

Senate Passed

House Passed

Conference Report

Conference Report vs. FY 2009 Enacted

House of Representatives

1,301

1,375

1,375

1,369

67.7

House Leadership Offices

25.1

25.8

25.8

25.8

0.7

Members' Representational Allowances

609

660

660

660

51.0

Committee Employees

185.3

171.1

171.1

171.1

-14.2

Salaries, Officers and Employees

187.9

200.3

200.3

198.3

10.4

Allowances and Expenses

293.9

317.8

317.8

313.6

19.7

Senate

895

933.9

N/A

926.1

31.1

Joint Items

29.2

21.3

21.4

21.3

-7.9

U.S. Capitol Police

305.7

331.5

325.1

328.3

22.6

Office of Compliance

4

4.4

4.3

4.3

0.3

Congressional Budget Office

44

45.1

45.1

45.1

1.1

Architect of the Capitol

529.5

545.8

541.3

601.5

72.0

Library of Congress

607

638.5

647.4

643.3

36.3

Government Printing Office

140.5

146.9

146.2

147.4

6.9

Government Accountability Office

556

553.6

558.8

556.8

0.8

Open World Leadership Center

13.9

14.4

9

12

-1.9

Total

4,402

4,611.6

3,674.5

4,656

254

 

Division B-Continuing Resolution

 

The continuing resolution (CR) provides funding for the government through October 31, 2009, at current 2009 levels, including all supplemental appropriation levels for defense in 2009. Highlights of the CR are outlined below:

ACORN:  The CR would prohibit funds from this or any prior law from being provided to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its affiliates.  This provision would expire on October 31, 2009.

Guantanamo Bay Detainees:  The CR contains a prohibition on funds from this or any previous Act from being used to release a detainee from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility into the U.S.  In addition, the provision prohibits funds from being used to transfer a detainee until at least two months after the President releases a plan including an analysis of the national security risk of transferring the detainee, the cost of not transferring the detainee, the legal rational for the transfer, a certification by the President that the transfer risks have been mitigated, and a certification that the President has contacted the Governor of the State where the detainee would be transferred.

Postal Payment Reduction:  The CR includes legislation which allows the US Postal Service (USPS) to reduce its required payment to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund by $4 billion in 2009, from $5.4 billion to $1.4 billion, to supplement their losses.  The Fund is set aside for future retirees and USPS must contribute to the fund though 2016 to ensure benefits exist in the future.   An identical provision was passed as a stand-alone bill, H.R. 22, by a vote of 388-32 on September 15, 2009.  Some Members may be concerned that this will be the third billion dollar bailout of USPS in eight years.  Other Members may instead view this legislation as a stop-gap measure and the least offensive way of dealing with USPS' cash flow problems in the short term (since the USPS would still be making some down payment on their further liabilities).

In addition, according to CBO, the provision scores as an on-budget cost of $4 billion (because of the reduction in scheduled payments) and an off-budget savings of $4 billion (because of the savings to the off-budget Postal Service, which is supposed to be self-sustaining).  Under normal circumstances, the on-budget cost of $4 billion would be charged against the 302(b) allocation limit established by the budget resolution and the off-budget effect could not be counted as an offset.  However, the Majority has argued that the provision's off-budget savings can be scored as an offset for purposes of complying with the budget resolution. 

Census:  The CR provides $7.065 billion for the Bureau of the Census for preparations for the 2010 Decennial Census.  The amount is an increase of $3.87 billion over FY 2009.

VA Medical Appropriations:  The CR provides $44.3 billion (or $47.3 billion when approximately $3 billion in collections are added) for three Veteran's Affairs medical accounts; Medical Services, Medical Administration, and Medical Facilities.

Extensions:  The CR extends the authority to continue a number of programs that are set to expire, through the duration of the CR, as follows:

•  Extends Child Nutrition Programs under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.

•  Extends retroactive stop-loss pay for military services members whose enlistments were involuntarily extended since September 11, 2001.

•  Extends the Commanders' Emergency Response Program for commanders to obtain funds for emergency situations.

•  Extends authority for the DoD to continue counterdrug activities and provide equipment for illegal drug monitoring.

•  Extends authority for the D.C. government to collect taxes.

•  Extends the E-verify program.

•  Extends the National Flood Insurance Program.

•  Extends the EB-5 visa program, Special Immigrant Status to Religious Workers Other than Ministers, and Preferential Treatment for Certain Religious Refugees.

•  Extends the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.

•  Extends the U.S. Forest Service's authority to accept fees for certain botanical sales.

•  Extends the authority to issue grazing permits.

•  Extends the authority to provide funds for schooling in Puerto Rico.

•  Extends the authority to fund the Ryan White Care Act, which provides medical services to those individuals with HIV/AIDS.

•  Extends the Republic of Palau's eligibility to participate in certain education programs.

•  Extends provisions from the FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 2346) which require Iraq to match certain U.S. assistance and permit funding for governments that participate in presidential-approved power sharing arrangements with Hamas.

•  Extends Overseas Comparability Pay Adjustments for those in the Foreign Service.

•  Extends authority to provide grants for Radio Free Asia.

•  Extends the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

•  Extends the authority of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance, the Government National Mortgage Association, FHA's Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, and the HOPE VI housing program.

•  Extends authority for the National Transportation Safety Board to pay its training facility lease.

•  Extends the FAA's authority to spend money from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), and its authority to charge taxes.

•  Extends federal highway and surface transportation programs and authorizes the appropriation of funding from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

Cost

According to CBO, the conference report accompanying H.R. 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, would appropriate $4.656 billion in funding for the legislative branch in FY 2010.

According to CBO, the legislation would appropriate $1.174 trillion in discretionary spending in FY 2010 if the one-month CR spending levels remained constant for the entire Fiscal Year.