CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is expected to begin consideration of the House Amendments to H.R. 4899, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, under a suspension of the rules. On June 30, 2010, the House voted, 237-192, to approve an $81 billion version of the bill, which contained only $33 billion for the Department of Defense to conduct ongoing war operations and $23 billion in unrelated domestic spending. On July 22, 2010, the House Amendment was not agreed to by the Senate and most of the additional domestic spending was stripped from the bill. The House will now consider a Senate Amendment to the bill that was passed on May 27, 2010.
H.R. 4899 provides $58.9 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending and $3.3 billion in rescissions and offsets, bringing the total cost the bill to $55.6 billion. The bill provides a total of $37.1 billion for ongoing war operations overseas ($32.8 billion for the Department of Defense and $4.3 billion for related State Department activities). The Senate bill still includes billions in non-defense spending for FEMA debts, relief in Haiti, benefit payments to veterans of the Vietnam War who were exposed to Agent Orange, and State Department programs. The specific funding provisions in the bill are outlined below.
Troop Funding: The legislation includes $32.8 billion for the Department of Defense to conduct military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill includes funding for the operation and maintenance of the Army, Navy and Air Force and provides for the addition of 30,000 new personnel to be deployed to Afghanistan. In addition, the legislation provides $5 billion for new weapons procurement. On March 25, 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates reiterated his request for $33 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriations to support 30,000 additional troops deployed to Afghanistan per the offensive strategy set forth by President Obama.
Security Forces: The bill provides $2.6 billion for the Afghanistan security forces and $1 billion for the Iraq security forces fund.
State and Foreign Operations Military Assistance Programs: The bill includes $4.3 billion in international activities through the State Department and related to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This funding is generally added to the $32.8 billion for military operations when determining the total spending related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thus, a total of $37.1 billion of the funding in the legislation is generally regarded as funding for the ongoing wars.
FEMA: The legislation provides $5.1 billion to pay for the lingering costs of past disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Gustav, and the Midwest floods of 2008.
Agent Orange: The bill includes $13.3 billion in new, mandatory spending to provide benefit payments to veterans of the Vietnam War who were exposed to Agent Orange. According to the Appropriations Committee Democrats, “An estimated 86,069 people will be eligible to receive retroactive payments and 67,259 people will be eligible to receive new benefits.”
Haiti: The legislation contains $2.93 billion provided in the Senate bill for relief in Haiti. The bill includes funding for humanitarian, economic, reconstruction, law enforcement and peacekeeping costs. In addition, the legislation would cancel $220 million in existing debts owed by Haiti.
Oil Spill: The bill provides $100 million for the Gulf Coast oil spill. The bill contains $29 million for inspections, enforcement, investigations, environmental and engineering studies, $20 million for NOAA research, and $15 million to determine the impact on fisheries.
Emergency Food Assistance: The bill provides $50 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program for food purchases to distribute through local emergency food providers. This program received $150 million in the Democrats’ stimulus bill. In addition, this bill rescinds $487 milling from the Women and Infant Children (WIC) food assistance program.
Corps of Engineers: The legislation provides $178 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to fund natural disaster response.
Rural Loans: The legislation provides $32 million to support $950 million in farm loans through the Farm Services Agency.
Port of Guam Improvements: The legislation provides $50 million for improvements to port facilities in Guam.
Mine Safety: The legislation provides $18 million for mine safety enforcement.
Forests: The legislation provides $18 million for “emergency forest restoration.”
Drought Relief: The legislation provides $10 million for emergency drought relief.
Highway Safety Studies: The legislation provides $15 million for a highway safety study.
Financial Crisis Report: The legislation provides $2 million to “investigate the causes of the recent financial crisis.”
Police Radios: The bill includes $13 million in funding for a new Capitol Police radio system.
On May 27, 2010, the Senate passed an amendment to H.R. 4899, providing supplemental funding for the ongoing war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq by a vote of 67-28. The legislation included a total $58.9 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending, including $32.8 billion in emergency funding requested by the administration. The bill also included funding unrelated to the war effort, including $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Fund (FEMA), and $2.9 billion in relief for Haiti. On June 30, 2010, the House voted, 237-192, to approve an $81 billion version of the bill, which contained only $33 billion for the Department of Defense to conduct ongoing war operations and $23 billion in unrelated domestic spending. On July 22, 2010, the House Amendment was not agreed to by the Senate and the additional domestic spending was stripped from the bill.
The Senate amendments exclude a number of funding and policy provisions which were included in the House Amendment to the War Supplemental. Most notably, the legislation does not include $23 billion in additional domestic funding that was added by the House. This funding included $10 billion in state education fund bailouts, $4.9 billion to bailout the federal Pell Grant Program, $701 million for border security, and $538 million in an effort to deter waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare. The Senate Amendments also exclude a number of unrelated policy provisions added in the House. Most notably, the Senate did not include the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, a contentious piece of legislation that requires state and local governments to collectively bargain with all law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel. In addition, the Senate removed language creating a new unemployment compensation program for individuals impacted by the Gulf oil spill.
According to a CBO, H.R. 4899 contains a total of $58.9 billion in total spending, which includes $45.5 billion in discretionary funding and $13.4 billion in mandatory spending. The bill also includes $3.3 billion in rescissions, which brings the total deficit impact of the bill to 55.6 billion.