H.R. 3288 Conference Report: Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3288 - FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act

H.R. 3288

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3288 - FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act

Date
December 10, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to begin consideration of the conference report accompanying H.R. 3288, the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, on Thursday, December 10, 2009, under a rule.  H.R. 3288 was passed in the House on July 17, 2009, by a vote of 212-193 as the stand-alone version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of FY 2010.  The bill was not considered in the Senate and is now being used as the vehicle for a FY 2010 omnibus spending bill, which includes five additional bills.

 

Bill Summary

The FY 2010 omnibus spending bill (H.R. 3288) contains six appropriations bills, totaling $446.8 billion or an increase of 11 percent over the combined funding levels for the same six bills last year.

H.R. 3288 provides discretionary funding for six appropriations bills, including the Transportation and Housing bill ($67.9 billion), the Commerce, Justice, and Science bill ($64.4 billion), the Financial Services bill ($24 billion), the Labor, Health, and Human Services bill ($163.5 billion), the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill ($78 billion), and the State and Foreign Operations ($48.8 billion).  The bill includes increases of at least 6 percent above last year's discretionary spending levels for every bill and much higher for others.   In addition to the normal FY 2009 appropriations, the agencies funded in this omnibus received a total of $128.2 billion in supplemental funding in FY 2009, mainly from the Democrats' "stimulus" bill. 

 

Discretionary  Spending in Millions

 

FY 2009

House Passed

H.R. 3288

H.R. 3288 vs. FY 2009

Increase

Transportation, HUD

55,965

68,821

67,900

11,935

21.3%

Commerce, Justice, Science

60,505

64,400

64,416

3,911

6.5%

Financial Services

22,758

24,167

24,186

1,428

6.3%

Labor, HHS, Education

152,255

163,400

163,565

11,310

7.4%

Military Construction/VA

72,864

77,905

78,005

5,141

7.1%

State, Foreign Operations

36,622

48,843

48,764

12,142

33.2%

Total

400,969

447,536

446,836

45,867

11.4%

Members may be concerned by these large increases in non-defense discretionary spending-11.4 percent over FY 2009-especially given the current economic downturn and the difficult fiscal circumstances that the U.S. currently faces with record deficits, decreased revenues, and national debt nearing its statutory limit.  In addition, some Members may be concerned that a half trillion dollar spending bill is being considered in the form of a massive and un-amendable bill omnibus because the Democrats were unable to pass the individual appropriations bills in a timely manner.  Finally, Members may be concerned with the removal of a number of traditional pro-life and pro-family provisions typically contained in these bills.  Please see the summaries of the Financial Services, Labor, HHS and Education, and State and Foreign Operations bills for more information on the social concerns in the underlying bill.

The following is a brief summary of the spending highlights and possible concerns with each discretionary appropriations bill funded though H.R. 3288.

DIVISION A-Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $68.9 billion in discretionary spending for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill, an increase of $12 billion or 21 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009.  Agencies receiving funding from THUD appropriations already received nearly as much funding-$61.8 billion-in supplemental spending, primarily from the "stimulus" bill, giving these agencies $120.5 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2009.

FAA:  Provides $12 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, an increase of $128 million or less than 1 percent above FY 2009.

Federal Highway Administration:  Provides $42.2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Federal Highway Trust Fund, an increase of $4.2 billion or 11 percent above FY 2009.

Amtrak:  Includes $1.56 billion for Amtrak, an increase of $48 million or 3.4 percent over the FY 2009 discretionary funding level.  Amtrak is a program that has repeatedly failed to be competitive and continues to need federal subsidies to cover operating losses and capital costs.  For instance, Amtrak is forecasting a loss of $492 million in 2009.  Furthermore, the so-called "stimulus" bill contained $1.3 billion for Amtrak.  In addition, the conference agreement does not include an amendment passed by the House prohibiting Amtrak funds from being used to provide free alcohol.

Federal Railroad Administration:  Provides $4.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration Corporation (FRA), an increase $2.5 billion or 147 percent over FY 2009.  The FRA received $9.3 billion in supplemental funding in FY 2009, including $8 billion in high-speed rail funding in the "stimulus" bill that has yet to be expended.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance:  Provides $18.2 billion for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program, an increase of $1.4 billion or 8.3 percent over FY 2009.

Community Planning and Development:  Provides $8.5 billion for Community Development and Planning, an increase of $1.1 billion or 9.8 percent over FY 2009.  Programs funding through this account received $6.7 billion in FY 2009 in supplemental spending.   

Project-Based Rental Assistance:  Provides $8.3 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, an increase of $1.4 billion or 20 percent over FY 2009.

ACORN:  Prohibit funds from this or any prior appropriations legislation from being provided to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its affiliates.  This provision would apply to any programs funded under this appropriations bill and would expire with the legislation at the conclusion of FY 2010.

 

DIVISION B-COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS Act

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $64.4 billion in discretionary spending for the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) bill, an increase of $3.9 billion or 6.5 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009.  Agencies receiving funding from the CJS bill already received $16 billion in spending, primarily from the "stimulus" bill, giving these agencies $70.4 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2009.

Department of Commerce:  The bill contains $14 billion for the Department of Commerce, an increase of $4.7 billion or 51 percent, over FY 2009.

Census Bureau:  Provides $7.3 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of $4.2 billion or 125 percent, over FY 2009 for the 2010 Decennial Census, accounting for the majority of the Department of Commerce's funding increase.  The "stimulus" bill already included $1 billion for the 2010 census.

NOAA:  Provides $4.7 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a $372 million increase over FY 2009.  NOAA funding includes $400 million for climate change research and educational programs.  This appropriation would provide the largest NOAA budget in history in the wake of a recent EPA ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and welfare.

Department of Justice:  The bill provides $27.5 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ), an increase of $1.65 billion or 6.2 percent above FY 2009.

State Criminal Alien Assistance Program:  Reduces funding for the Alien Assistance Program by $70 million or 17 percent, to $300 million.

Science Programs:  Provides $25.6 billion for federal science agencies in FY 2010, an increase of $868 million or 3.5 percent above FY 2009.  This funding includes $6.9 billion for the National Science Foundation-which received $3 billion in FY 2009 supplemental appropriations-and $18.7 billion for NASA, an increase of $941 million or 5 percent over FY 2009.

Guantanamo Bay Detainees:  The conference report does not include $60 million requested by the Administration to close the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  In addition, the bill states that none of the funds in the bill may be used to release a Guantanamo Bay detainee in the U.S.   The bill also states that none of the funds may be used to transfer a Guantanamo Bay detainee into the U.S. until 45 days after the President submits a plan to Congress which includes:

•  Any risk to national security posed by transferring the detainee to the U.S.

•  The cost of not transferring the detainee.

•  The legal rational for the transfer.

•  A certification by the President that any risk has been mitigated.

•  A certification by the President that the Governor or Legislature in the State where the detainee is being transferred was notified at least two weeks days prior to the transfer.

Members may be concerned that this language is insufficient to prevent the Administration from transporting Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. for trial.

The bill would also prohibit any funds from being used to provide a detainee with immigration status, parole, or refugee status.

ACORN:  Requires the Comptroller General to conduct a review and audit of the ACORN to investigate whether federal funds were misused by the organization.

DIVISION C-FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $24.1 billion in discretionary spending for the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, an increase of $1.4 billion or 6.3 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009.  Agencies receiving funding from the Financial Services spending bill already received $7 billion in supplemental spending, primarily from the "stimulus" bill, giving these agencies $31.1 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2009.  The conference report provides funding for the Department of the Treasury, the White House, the Supreme Court, the District of Columbia (D.C.), the U.S. court system, the Federal Trade Commission, the General Services Administration, and the Small Business Administration.

Policy Concerns:  Numerous changes to traditional policy provisions have raised numerous concerns among pro-family organizations and Members alike, including:

•  DC Abortion: The Financial Services appropriations bill has historically included a restriction on government (both federal and D.C.) funded abortions in the District of Columbia, the so-called Dornan amendment.  The conference report renders the Dornan amendment ineffective by lifting the restriction on local D.C. funds to be used to pay for abortions in the District, without any limitations.  Since Congress appropriates both federal and local funds, this change would mean that funds could be used for abortions.  This provision concerns numerous groups who score legislation and, as a result, numerous pro-life and pro-family groups will likely score final passage of the legislation.

•  Needle Exchange:  Removes the ban on the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs in D.C.  Needle exchange programs are included to give drug users an incentive to properly dispose of used hypodermic needles, by exchanging them for new, clean needles.  Since FY 1999, a prohibition of federal funds for needle exchange programs has been in place.  During Committee markup, Rep. Kingston (R-GA) successfully offered an amendment to prohibit the use of federal and local D.C. funds for needle exchange programs that operate within 1,000 feet of a school, pool, playground, daycare center, or other locations that cater to youth and children.  However, this language was not included in the conference report, and was instead replaced by a restriction on the use of federal funds for use at locations determined by local health or law enforcement officials to be "inappropriate."  Some Members may still be concerned that the bill lifts the prohibition on the use of most federal funds for programs that encourage illegal drug use.

•  Medical Marijuana:  Removes the ban on legalizing marijuana in D.C.  Since FY 1999, the Financial Service Appropriations Act has included a provision that prohibited the use of any funds to implement a medical marijuana ballot initiative to legalize marijuana.

•  Registration and Benefits to Domestic Partners:   Removes the ban on the use of federal funds for domestic partnership benefits in D.C.  Since FY 2001, a provision has been included ensuring that no federal funds can be used to provide employment, health, or governmental benefits to unmarried domestic partners.  Prior to FY 2001, a ban on all funds, both federal and local, applied to domestic partnership benefits.  The language in this bill represents a departure from previous policy regarding the use of federal funds for domestic partnerships.

D.C. Opportunity Scholarship:  The D.C. School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 established the first federally funded private school voucher program in the United States, providing scholarships of up to $7,500 for low-income residents of D.C. to send their children to local participating schools.  The FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill terminated the program at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year with the caveat that it could continue if Congress and the D.C. City Council reauthorize the program.  President Obama included funding in his FY 2010 Budget exclusively for students currently in the program, denying siblings and other students attending D.C. public schools the opportunity to receive scholarships.  This bill includes $12.2 million for existing scholarship recipients, therefore, the program will ultimately terminate.

Fairness Doctrine:  The bill does not contain the FY 2008 ban on federal funds being used for the enforcement or implementation of the Fairness Doctrine.

Department of Treasury:  Provides $14.5 billion for the Department of Treasury, an increase of $777 million or 5.3 percent.

Executive Offices:  Provides $771 million for the Executive Offices of the President, an increase of $44 million or 5 percent over FY 2009.

Court of Appeals and District Courts:  Provides $6.4 billion for the operations of the Courts of Appeals, District Courts, Bankruptcy Courts, and the Court of Federal Claims, an increase of $357 million or 6 percent above FY 2009.

Auto Dealership Arbitration:  Establishes a process by which auto dealers who were put out of business in contravention of State laws as a result of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies may appeal to an arbitrator for reinstatement of their dealership.

 

Division D-Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $163.4 billion in discretionary spending for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill (Labor-HHS), an increase of $11.3 billion or 7 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009.  The conference report is also $165 million above the House bill and $465 million more than the Senate bill that passed out of Committee but was never considered on the floor. 

Agencies receiving funding in the Labor-HHS already received $127 billion in emergency spending from the "stimulus" bill and $7.7 billion from the FY 2009 emergency supplemental appropriations bill.  Combined, agencies receiving funding under this bill received $289 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2009.  H.R. 3293 provides funding for the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and a number of other agencies, including the Corporation for Community Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Each of these federal agencies received supplemental funding in FY 2009 in addition to their regular appropriation.

Department of Labor:  Provides $16.2 billion for the Department of Labor, an decrease of $646 million or 4 percent below last year. 

State Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service Operation:  Provides $4.1 billion for Unemployment Insurance State and local operations and Employment Services, $423 million above the FY 2009 enacted level.

Department of Health and Human Services:  Provides $73.7 billion in discretionary spending for the HHS, an increase of $6 billion or 9 percent over FY 2009.

Department of Education:  Provides $68.2 billion for the Department of Education (DOE).   In FY 2009, programs funded through the DOE received billions in funds from supplemental appropriations, including $53.6 billion in State stabilization funds and $12 billion for special education.

Social Policy Concerns:  This portion of the bill contains a number of controversial policy changes, including:

•  Title X Family Planning: Provides $317.4 million for Title X family planning programs, $10 million or 3 percent above FY 2009.  Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is the largest recipient of Title X.  While the bill prohibits funds from being used to pay for abortions, some Members may be concerned that Planned Parenthood is still allowed to receive funding given that money is fungible, and Title X money thus allows Planned Parenthood to expand its operations.

•  Needle Exchange: Alters current needle exchange prohibitions to allow federal funds to pay for needle exchange programs across the country unless local health departments or local law enforcement determines it is "inappropriate."

•  Abstinence Education:  Eliminates funding for abstinence education, and creates a new $110 million program for "comprehensive sex education."

 

Division E-MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $78 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $5.1 billion or 7 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009.  Agencies funded through the bill also received $4.4 billion in supplemental appropriations from the "stimulus" bill and $2.7 billion from other supplemental funding.  Including supplemental spending, agencies that are funded through this appropriations bill received $80 billion in FY 2009.  In addition, H.R. 3082 contains $48 billion in advanced appropriations for FY 2011.  These advanced appropriations are not scored in FY 2010.  Members may be concerned with H.R. 3082's use of advanced appropriations, which are often employed as a budgetary "gimmick" to hide dramatic increases in spending.  In addition, the amount of this particular advanced appropriation dwarfs the previous total of roughly $29 billion each year.

Department of Defense:  Provides $23.6 billion for the Department of Defense, a reduction of $1.44 billion from FY 2009.  The decrease is due to a $1.5 billion reduction in funding for base realignment and closure (BRAC), from $9 billion in FY 2009 to $7.4 billion.

Military Construction:  Provides $13.6 billion for military construction, an increase of $1.4 billion or 10 percent above FY 2009.

Department of Veterans Affairs:  Includes a total funding level of $56.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an increase of $9.8 billion or 21 percent.  Many of the VA's funds are provided through mandatory funding for compensation, pensions, and other benefits that were established in previous legislation.

 

Division F- DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2010

H.R. 3288 contains a total of $48.7 billion for the Department of State and Foreign Operations bill, an increase of $12.1 billion or 33 percent above the discretionary spending level for FY 2009-highest increase in funding by percentage of any appropriations bill.  In addition to this large increase, agencies funded through the bill also received $4.2 billion in supplemental appropriations from the "stimulus" bill and $14.7 billion from the Supplemental War Funding bill.  Including emergency spending, agencies that are funded through this appropriation bill received $55 billion in FY 2009.  In spite of these massive supplemental spending increases and record deficits, the conference report would still increase discretionary spending for the bill by 33 percent over the amount appropriated last year.

Department of State and Related Agencies:  Provides $16.1 billion in discretionary funding for the State Department, an increase of $4 billion or 33 percent above FY 2009.  Funding for the Department of State includes the civilian stabilization initiative, educational and cultural exchange programs, embassy protection and security, overseas peacekeeping, contributions to international organizations (such as the United Nations), international commissions, and broadcasting activities.

Contributions to Overseas Peacekeeping:  Provides $2.1 billion for State Department overseas peacekeeping contributions, an increase of $608 million or 40 percent over FY 2009.

Peace Corps:  Provides $400 million for the Peace Corps, an increase of $80 million or 23 percent over FY 2009.

USAID:  Provides $1.39 billion for USAID, an increase of $580 million or 55 percent over FY 2009.

Foreign Military Financing Program:  Provides $4.2 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF), a decrease of $440 million from FY 2009.  Funding for the FMF includes $2.2 billion for Israel.  Under a 2007 agreement the U.S. is obligated to provide $2.7 billion in military assistance to Israel in 2010.  The difference between the appropriated funding level and the current U.S. obligation was compensated for by a $555 million in military assistance included in the FY 2009 war funding supplemental.

Social Policy Concerns:  This division of the legislation contains a number of controversial policy changes, including:

•  International Family Planning:  Provides for the largest increase ever in funding for international family planning, and reproductive health, programs.  It provides a total of $7.78 billion for global health programs, including $648.5 million for international family planning and reproductive health ($103 million over FY 2009).  And since international family planning money is no longer protected by the Mexico City Policy, a policy that President Obama rescinded in January, 2009, this huge funding stream would now be directed to overseas organizations that provide and promote abortion.

•  UNFPA:   Appropriates $55 million for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), a $5 million increase over FY 2009.  Previous administrations have invoked the Kemp-Kasten provision to re-direct these funds to other programs due to the UNFPA's support for China's one-child policy, but the Administration has already allowed FY 2009 funds to flow to UNFPA, and is likely to continue to do so.

GROUPS OPPOSING PASSAGE

 

Due to the social policy and pro-life concerns with the bill, the following groups oppose the passage of the conference report to H.R. 3288:

Ø  National Right to Life (reserves the right to score the rule, any pertinent motion to recommit and final passage).

Ø  US Conference of Catholic Bishops (oppose passage).

Ø  The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (oppose passage).

Ø  Americans United for Life (scoring against passage).

Ø  Focus on the Family (scoring against passage, letter attached)

Ø  Family Research Council (scoring against passage).

Ø  Concerned Women for America (scoring against passage).

 

Cost

According to CBO, the Conference Report to H.R. 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 of FY 2010, would appropriate $446.8 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2010.