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DLM ALERT – CANTOR MEMO TO HOUSE GOP ON LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

DLM is providing below a copy of the memo House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent to GOP Members of Congress outlining the legislative agenda for September and October.

MEMORANDUM
TO: House Republicans
FR: Eric Cantor
DT: Friday, September 06, 2013
RE: September and October Legislative Agenda

As we return from five weeks of meetings with constituents, small businesses, and local leaders, the House will be confronted with a number of serious issues ranging from federal spending levels to Syria, to Obamacare to domestic energy. In addition, we will continue to focus on America’s working middle class as they lose ground when Washington wastes their tax dollars on out-of-control programs, Obamacare increases their insurance premiums and slashes their hours at work, and their energy prices rise.

We must, as always, remain focused on our conservative policies that can help grow the economy, lessen the burden of government and provide opportunity for working middle class families. Many families are distressed. Countless parents don’t remember the last time their employer could afford to give them a raise. Many fear their full-time job will become a part-time job. And many don’t have a job at all. And healthcare costs are rising.

Many of these middle class families feel squeezed out and don’t feel the government is paying attention to their needs, and that their voices don’t matter. Well their voices matter to us, and we’re going to fight for them this month and every month after with an agenda focused on economic security and opportunity for working middle class families.

While this memo is not exhaustive of the issues the House will deal with in the fall, the outline below will give you a sense of what to expect over the next two months. I look forward to hearing your input in shaping our conservative agenda.

Appropriations

As the new fiscal year begins at the end of the month we find ourselves needing a short-term CR due to the Senate’s failure to pass even a single appropriations bill. Enactment of a CR at sequester levels would contain $64 billion in less spending compared to the current funding levels President Obama signed into law a mere five months ago. In signing a CR at sequester levels, the President would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes away all the increases he and Congressional Democrats made while they were in charge and returns us to a pre-2008 level of discretionary spending.

Debt Limit

The administration announced that it expects to run out of borrowing authority by mid-October. While we do not know the precise date of when that authority will lapse, the House will act to prevent a default on our obligations before that point. Over the past three decades during times of divided government, increases in the debt limit have been accompanied by major spending, fiscal, and regulatory reforms and I expect that model to play out once again. Gramm-Rudman, the Congressional Review Act, and the Budget Control Act all were enacted on previous increases of the debt limit. Therefore, House Republicans will demand fiscal reforms and pro-growth policies which put us on a path to balance in ten years in exchange for another increase in the debt limit.

Syria

Understanding that there are differing opinions on both sides of the aisle, it is up to President Obama to make the case to Congress and to the American people that this is the right course of action. Members should expect a robust debate and vote on an authorization of use of military force pertaining to Syria in the next two weeks.

Nutrition

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has ballooned since President Obama took office with one in seven Americans now receiving food stamps. As SNAP has grown, working middle class families are footing the $80 billion bill for a safety net gone well beyond assistance to children, seniors, and the disabled. That is why, with Chairman Lucas, a working group of our conference came together to address the major problems to reform SNAP while still preserving the safety net for those who truly need it. The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act restores the intent of the bipartisan welfare reforms adopted in 1996 by ensuring that work requirements for able-bodied adults without children are enforced – not waived – and eliminates loopholes exploited over the last few years to avoid the program’s income and asset tests. It also empowers states to engage able-bodied parents in work and job training as part of receiving food stamps to help move them to self-sufficiency. Most importantly, no individual who meets the income and asset guidelines of the SNAP program and is willing to comply with applicable work requirements will lose benefits as a result of these reforms. It is expected that these simple reforms will save taxpayers an estimated $40 billion over ten years.

Obamacare

As the Speaker outlined in July, the House will hold a series of strategic votes throughout the fall to dismantle, defund, and delay Obamacare. The coalition supporting Obamacare cracks when forced to vote on the most unpopular aspects of the law. Remember, we have successfully forced the president to sign seven bills into law that either repeal parts of or significantly reduce spending on his signature law. And earlier this summer, 22 and 35 House Democrats voted to delay the individual and employee mandates, respectively.

We have seen in recent months that Obamacare is unworkable as the administration has missed half the deadlines in the law, according to a report published by CRS. Most recently, the administration has delayed the mandate on insurance companies that caps out-of-pocket insurance costs. As the October 1st implementation approaches, we will continue to pursue the strategy of systematically derailing this train wreck and replacing it with a patient-centered system which removes Washington from health care decisions.

Immigration

We know that the current legal immigration system is broken and should be fixed in a deliberate and responsible manner. That is why the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees have produced a number of specific bills which the House may begin considering this fall. Before we consider any other reforms, it is important that we pass legislation securing our borders and providing enforcement mechanisms to our law enforcement officials.

Domestic Energy

The working middle class is struggling under the weight of increased energy costs all while the United States has enough natural gas and newly discoverable oil finds to meet our energy needs for almost a century. We must focus on expanding our energy production in an environmentally friendly way to lower the price of energy for all Americans. That is why we will consider Bill Flores’s bill, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728). This bipartisan legislation prohibits the Interior Department from enforcing federal hydraulic fracturing regulations in any state that already has existing regulations and recognizes states’ rights to regulate this type of activity.

While energy is certainly a jobs issue, for millions of American families it is a pocketbook issue — working middle class families who in 2001 spent 12% of their earnings to pay for their energy bills, today spend 21% of their income on the same bill. According to the research firm IHS Global Insight, shale energy production, which could not be done successfully without hydraulic fracturing, has created billions of dollars in additional revenues for federal, state and local governments, helped American consumers save an average of $926 annually per household, and supported more than 1.75 million jobs in 2012. Throughout the fall, House Republicans will continue to bring environmentally friendly energy legislation like this to the floor to bring down the cost of energy, create jobs for the middle class, and make the United States more energy independent.

Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act

For over 100 years, the federal government has managed our national forests while sharing with impacted local communities a percentage of management revenue. Chairman Doc Hastings’s bill, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526), renews the government’s commitment to rural communities, improves forest health, and will help prevent catastrophic wildfires which threaten millions of Americans through proactive measures. The bill also provides a short-term extension of the Secure Rural Schools payments program.

WRRDA

The Water Resource Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) is model for a new way to do business here in Washington and I applaud Chairman Bill Shuster and his committee for developing a bill with much needed reforms. The legislation cuts federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamlines the project delivery process, improves competiveness, strengthens water resources infrastructure, and promotes fiscal responsibility. Most importantly, WRRDA contains no earmarks. It also increases transparency, accountability and Congressional oversight in reviewing and prioritizing future water resources development activities without ceding Constitutional Congressional authority to the executive branch.

Kids First Research Act

H.R. 2019, The Kids First Research Act, introduced by Gregg Harper, Tom Cole, and Peter Welch clearly reflects Congressional priorities in funding: medical research before political parties and conventions. In the era of limited federal resources, it is critical that we set the right priorities and now more than ever our priority should be medical breakthroughs that help children who are suffering from diseases and disorders like autism, juvenile diabetes, Down syndrome, and cancer. This bipartisan bill eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and diverts the remaining money, approximately $130 million, to expand pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health. Autism Speaks, Children’s Hospital Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are among the more than three dozen groups which support passage of this bill. It is no secret that Healthcare costs coupled with our nation’s demographic trends disproportionately cloud the fiscal outlook for the federal government. By promoting cures, this legislation also reflects a long term commitment to fiscal balance.

Oversight

In September and October, House committees will continue to hold an out-of-touch government in Washington accountable. Congressional oversight that exposes abuses, such as political targeting by the IRS, is the first step in restoring trust in government, controlling spending, and reforming Washington. Working middle class families deserve a government that is working for them, not against them.

As I detailed in a memo to you last month, House committees are actively pursuing over 150 inquires. While the IRS and Benghazi investigations remain priorities, the committees continue to focus on wasteful spending, job-killing regulations including the implementation of Obamacare and the administration’s energy policies, and national security.

Conclusion

This fall’s legislative agenda is aimed at promoting our conservative solutions that produce results for all Americans. We will need to address additional issues this fall, including a review of our intelligence programs and cyber security. A variety of other items are likely to be considered and members will receive weekly schedule updates at our conference meetings. Upon return to Washington, if we stay focused on our solutions and how they can benefit all Americans dealing with their every day challenges, I am convinced we will achieve more significant policy victories in the months ahead.

Thank you for all the hard work you do on behalf of your constituents and all Americans.

Eric

DLM ALERT – EPA FINALIZES 2013 RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARDS

You heard it here.  DLM’s August 6th Blog  entitled “DLM Foresight”  reported that EPA would issue the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard this month.  Well it has happened as we projected. Below is a link to the EPA fact sheet on the rulemaking:

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/420f13042.pdf .

DLM INSIGHT – News Before It Happens

DLM’s foundation is the belief that real time intelligence is a vital ingredient in shaping the policies which impact us.    The next few months may see of flurry of activity producing regulations dramatically impacting American business and citizens.  Industries impacted would include:

  • Biofuel –  EPA is scheduled to issue its final determination on the percentage of biofuel to be included in gasoline mixtures as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  This decision is expected this month.
  • Pay Disparity – The SEC, in accord with the Dodd-Frank Financial reform,  will issue by October a regulation requiring companies publish the pay disparity between chief executives and average workers.
  • Power Plants – EPA will release on September 20 new  regulations on carbon emissions from new power plants.  The draft regulations are currently under review at OMB.
  • Menus – The FDA will finalize rules this September requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations post calories counts on menus and vending machines.
  • Health Care – IRS is expected to finalize rules for the penalty on those who do not carry health insurance.  It will go into effect January 2014.
  • Home Care  – The Department of Labor has missed its July deadline for finalizing rules ending the exemption of home care workers from wage requirements.
  • Silica – OSHA has missed it July target for issuing a rule limiting the amount of silica dust.

DLM will continue to keep you apprised of the news before it happens.

DLM ALERT – CBO ISSUES SEQUESTRATION REPORT

CBO is required by law is issue a report that provides estimates on the caps on discretionary budget authority.  Here is a link to the report:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44491?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=812526&utm_campaign=0

DLM ALERT – House Appropriation Chairman Rogers Statement On THUD Bill

Chairman Rogers Statement on the THUD Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the removal of the Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill from floor consideration today:

“The Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development funding bill that was pulled from floor consideration today was the first major attempt by the House to consider and pass an Appropriations bill that funds domestic programs under the austere level delineated under the Budget Control Act and the House budget resolution.

“The bill today reflected the best possible effort, under an open process, to fund programs important to the American people – including our highway, air and rail systems, housing for our poorest families, and improvements to local communities – while also making the deep cuts necessary under the current budget cap. In order to abide by sequestration budget levels, this bill cut $4.4 billion below the current, post-sequestration total to a level below what was approved for these programs in 2006 – over seven years ago.

“I am extremely disappointed with the decision to pull the bill from the House calendar today. The prospects for passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on passage that was apparent this afternoon. With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago. Thus, I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration – and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts – must be brought to an end. And, it is also clear that the higher funding levels advocated by the Senate are also simply not achievable in this Congress.

“This Congress must now deal in a productive way to address the nation’s crippling deficits and debt to put our budget back on a sustainable and responsible path. This means that all government programs – not just those on the discretionary side of the ledger – must be reduced. Spending reductions in mandatory and entitlement programs, which are the drivers of our deficits and debt, are the most effective way to enact meaningful change in the trajectory of federal spending. The House, Senate and White House must come together as soon as possible on a comprehensive compromise that repeals sequestration, takes the nation off this lurching path from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, reduces our deficits and debt, and provides a realistic topline discretionary spending level to fund the government in a responsible – and attainable – way.”

DLM ALERT – Senate Appropriations Committee Draft FY14 Interior Appropriations Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee released its draft FY14 Interior Appropriations Bill, along with an Explanatory Statement. Links to the bill and statement are below:

Text of Draft FY2014 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill:
http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=b3e22f9d-a060-45eb-90ef-1225244125a7\

Text of Explanatory Statement:
http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=d1037190-bf9c-420c-a8a5-79c0ef9c495c

DLM ALERT – Administration Statement of Policy Opposing FY14 House Defense Appropriations Bill

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

                                                                                                                                                            July 22, 2013

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2397 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The President is committed to our national defense and funding other important priorities within a budget framework that strengthens our economy and advances middle-class priorities.  The Administration believes H.R. 2397, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes, funds critical priorities, and looks forward to working on its provisions as part of an acceptable budget framework.

However, enacting H.R. 2397, while adhering to the overall spending limits in the House Budget’s topline discretionary level for fiscal year (FY) 2014, would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities.  These cuts could result in hundreds of thousands of low-income children losing access to Head Start programs, tens of thousands of children with disabilities losing Federal funding for their special education teachers and aides, thousands of Federal agents who cannot enforce drug laws, combat violent crime or apprehend fugitives, and thousands of scientists without medical grants, which would slow research that could lead to new treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, and hurt America’s economic competitiveness.

More than three months have passed since the deadline for action and the Congress has yet to appoint conferees and agree on a budget resolution. Prior to consideration of appropriations bills the Congress should complete an appropriate framework for all the appropriations bills.

Unless this bill passes the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2397 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.  The Administration appreciates the support of the Committee in working to eliminate the threat that sexual assault in the military presents to our Service members and our national security.

Detainee Matters.  The Administration strongly objects to the provisions of sections 8107 and 8108 that limit the use of funds to transfer detainees and otherwise restrict detainee transfers, which, in certain circumstances, would violate constitutional separation of powers principles.  Section 8107 undermines national security and this unnecessarily constrains the Nation’s counterterrorism efforts, particularly where Federal courts are the best – or even the only – option for incapacitating dangerous terrorists.  For decades, presidents of both political parties have leveraged the flexibility and strength of this country’s Federal courts to incapacitate dangerous terrorists and gather critical intelligence.  The continued prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is an essential element of counterterrorism efforts – a powerful tool that must remain an available option.  Additionally, the restrictions in section 8108 on the transfer of detainees to the United States and to the custody or effective control of foreign countries or entities in the context of an ongoing armed conflict may interfere with the Executive Branch’s ability to determine the appropriate disposition of detainees and to make important foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances such transfers should occur.

In addition, the Administration strongly opposes section 8109, which would prohibit the use of funds to construct, acquire, or modify a detention facility in the United States to house individuals held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.  This would constrain the flexibility that the Nation’s Armed Forces and counterterrorism professionals need to deal with evolving threats, intruding upon the Executive Branch’s ability to carry out its mission.

Topline Funding Levels.  The Administration strongly objects to unrequested Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in the bill and the reduction of base budget funding relative to the President’s request.  The FY 2014 Budget carefully aligns program priorities and resources based on the President’s strategic guidance, and it fully funds OCO requirements.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  The Administration strongly urges the Congress to provide BRAC authorization and funding as requested so that the Department of Defense (DOD) can right-size its infrastructure while providing appropriate transition assistance to affected communities.  Without a new round of BRAC, DOD cannot properly align the military’s infrastructure with the needs of its evolving force structure, a critical tool for ensuring that limited resources are available to the highest priorities of the warfighter and national security.

TRICARE Fees and Co-Payments.  The Administration strongly urges the Congress to support its proposed TRICARE fee increases, because military retirees deserve an excellent, sustainable health care benefit.  The Administration is disappointed that the Committee has consistently failed to support requested TRICARE fee initiatives that seek to control DOD’s spiraling health care costs while keeping retired beneficiaries’ share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the TRICARE program was implemented in the mid-1990s.  While the bill restores the projected FY 2014 TRICARE savings associated with the initiatives, the Department will be forced to make deeper reductions to troop levels, readiness and modernization accounts in order to offset higher health care costs of over $8 billion through FY 2018.

Military Pay.  The Administration strongly urges the Congress to include the proposal to set the military pay raise growth at 1.0 percent in FY 2014.  Consistent with the views of the uniformed military leadership, the President’s Budget requests a 1.0 percent increase to basic pay, a 4.2 percent increase in the Basic Allowance for Housing, and a 3.4 percent increase in Basic Allowance for Subsistence.  This total compensation level recognizes the sacrifices made by the men and women in our Armed Forces, while adhering to the current budget constraints faced by DOD.  The bill provides $580 million in additional appropriations to fund the pay raise in FY 2014, but it would increase costs by a total of $3.5 billion from FY 2014 through FY 2018.  After FY 2014, these future costs would need to be offset by deeper reductions to troop levels, readiness and modernization accounts at a time when statutory spending caps require defense reductions.

Building Partner Capacity.  The Administration strongly objects to reductions in funds for programs to build partner capacity, which would limit the Department’s ability to address current and emerging threats to our national security.  The bill provides $83 million less than the $358 million requested for the Global Train and Equip program and does not fund the request for $75 million for the Global Security Contingency Fund.

National Intelligence Program Consolidation.  The Administration strongly objects to section 8105 because the provision’s prohibitions would impinge on the President’s prerogatives to seek efficient budget structures and unduly constrain the President in future budget decisions.

Unrequested Funding.  The Administration is concerned about the billions of dollars provided for items DOD did not request and does not need, such as Light Utility Helicopters, National Guard High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), additional medical research, and the modernization of seven cruisers and two amphibious ships.  The Administration is also concerned that the bill makes spending on these and other unnecessary items statutorily required, diverting scarce resources from more important defense programs and limiting the Secretary’s flexibility to manage the Department efficiently.

C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (C-130 AMP).  The Administration objects to the $47 million in unrequested funding provided for the C-130 AMP, which would start initial production of C-130 AMP kits for the modernization of earlier generation C-130 airlift aircraft.  The President’s FY 2013 Budget canceled the C-130 AMP because of its high total program cost of $2.7 billion, and because the aircraft would still be able to perform their missions with less expensive upgrades.  In addition, as required by the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD is conducting an independent cost-benefit analysis of the C-130 AMP, and it would be premature to reinstate the program before that study is complete.

Advanced Innovative Technologies.  The Administration objects to the $115 million cut for Advanced Innovative Technologies, an 88 percent reduction from the President’s request, which funds on-going research and development efforts that support the new Defense Strategy and the rebalance to the Asia Pacific.  Specifically, this program supports initiatives that would provide cost-effective and cost-imposing capabilities that are critical for meeting the Combatant Commander’s objectives in the region.  This capability is needed to address real world threats and full funding is required to research, develop and test performance of the Electromagnetic Railgun system.

Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund (JUONF).  The Administration objects to the elimination of funding requested for the JUONF.  This funding is critical to DOD’s ability to quickly respond to urgent operational needs of Combatant Commanders.  Elimination of funding may delay fielding of important capabilities that help accomplish critical missions.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programs.  The Administration objects to the restoration of funding for the STARBASE program, which would perpetuate the Federal Government’s fragmented approach to STEM education, whereby more than 220 programs are scattered across 13 agencies.  The Administration’s proposed reorganization of STEM programs would improve STEM education quality and outcomes across the Federal Government.

Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF).  The Administration opposes the reduction of $205 million from the FY 2014 Budget request for the DAWDF.  Failure to provide the full request would require DOD to collect the shortfall between the appropriation and the statutory minimum for DAWDF from other budget accounts.  In addition, the Administration opposes appropriations language that would not allow use of prior year expired funds for the   FY 2014 DAWDF collection.  Components should be allowed to use these funds per the authority provided in current law.

Civilian Pay Raise.  The Administration urges the Congress to support the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees.  As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.

Missile Defense.  The Administration appreciates the support for DOD’s air and missile defense programs, as well as support for the government of Israel’s Iron Dome rocket system.

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund.  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s continued strong support for U.S. efforts to build and develop the security forces of Afghanistan.  However, the Administration strongly urges the Congress to make $2.6 billion of the $7.7 billion request contingent upon pending policy decisions and the progress made by the Afghan National Security Forces during FY 2014, as requested in the President’s Budget.

Limitation on Funds Available to Procure Equipment.  The Administration appreciates the support of the Committee for a responsive and flexible program to train and equip the security forces of Afghanistan.  However, the Administration is concerned that some of the limitations proposed in section 8119 will prevent the Department from meeting critical equipment requirements and delivery timelines for the Afghan National Security Forces and will unnecessarily increase costs for the U.S. taxpayer.  The Administration urges the Congress to work with the Department to develop an alternative approach.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2014 appropriations process moves forward.

* * * * * * *

DLM ALERT – Administration Statement of Policy Opposing FY14 House THUD Appropriations Bill

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

                                                                                                                                                             July 22, 2013

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2610 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2610, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.  The bill severely undermines critical investments in economic and community development programs that drive local innovation, while also significantly reducing resources for public improvements, air traffic control infrastructure, affordable housing, as well as public services for low- to moderate-income families.  If the President were presented with H.R. 2610, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

In addition, enacting H.R. 2610, while adhering to the overall spending limits in the House Budget’s topline discretionary level for fiscal year (FY) 2014, would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities.  These cuts could result in hundreds of thousands of low-income children losing access to Head Start programs, tens of thousands of children with disabilities losing Federal funding for their special education teachers and aides, thousands of Federal agents who can’t enforce drug laws, combat violent crime or apprehend fugitives, and thousands of scientists without medical grants, which would slow research that could lead to new treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, and hurt America’s economic competitiveness.

More than three months have passed since the deadline for action and the Congress has yet to appoint conferees and agree on a budget resolution.  Prior to consideration of appropriations bills the Congress should complete an appropriate framework for all the appropriations bills that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future.  As such, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2610 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.

 

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants.  The Administration strongly opposes the elimination of funding for TIGER Grants.  This competitive grant program is critical in helping communities around the country leverage their own resources to complete critical transportation projects.  This program has been oversubscribed since its inception because TIGER Grants fund multimodal projects that are meritorious but can be difficult to fund within the current stove-piped financing structures.  Further, the $237 million rescission of FY 2013 funding included in the Committee bill would dramatically disrupt DOT’s execution of the ongoing TIGER grant-making process, and could necessitate the withdrawal of awards to current grantees.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations.  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s efforts to prioritize FAA Operations funding.  However, the Administration urges the Congress to fund FAA Operations at the level of the request of $9.7 billion, which allows the agency to hire in order to keep pace with attrition in its aviation safety and controller workforce.

FAA Facilities, Equipment, and NextGen.  The Administration strongly opposes the $623 million reduction below the FY 2014 Budget request for the facilities and equipment account in the Committee bill.  The funding level in the bill is roughly equal to the FY 2000 appropriated level.  This reduction would significantly slow, if not terminate, several aspects of FAA’s maintenance of current facilities, equipment, and the modernization of the Nation’s air traffic control system through NextGen.  The Committee bill specifically identifies reductions to critical infrastructure programs, such as back-up electrical power systems, which are essential for maintaining reliable and safe control of airspace during commercial power outages like those experienced as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and would require a nearly $400 million reduction to NextGen from the $1 billion requested in the FY 2014 Budget.

National Railroad Passenger Corporations (Amtrak).  The Administration strongly opposes the funding level included in the Committee bill for Amtrak.  The $350 million provided for Amtrak operations and $600 million for Amtrak Capital and Debt service do not sufficiently fund these important activities.  These reductions to Amtrak funding, which has long been underfunded, will cause significant delays in much needed capital investments and will result in deteriorated performance, especially in the Northeast Corridor, where ridership is at an all-time high.

High Speed Rail.  The Administration objects to the prohibition on funding for the California High Speed Rail project.  The California High Speed Rail project, which was approved by California voters as well as the California State Legislature, will spur job creation, decrease California’s footprint distance, reduce the amount of energy used per person, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment (New Starts) Grants.  The Administration urges the Congress to provide the requested funding level of $1.98 billion proposed in the FY 2014 Budget and to allow FTA to retain the $151 million in unallocated and unobligated funds for New Starts.  While the level in the Committee bill would provide funds for all existing grant agreements, it only provides funding for the new Small Starts projects recommended in the Budget, halting the pipeline for any new construction on larger New Starts or Core Capacity projects.

 

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Core Rental Assistance.  The Administration strongly opposes the $3.0 billion reduction to HUD’s core rental assistance programs:  Housing Choice Vouchers; Project-Based Rental Assistance; and Public Housing.  The bill provides $33.8 billion, which is 8 percent below the FY 2014 Budget request.  The Committee bill would support approximately 125,000 fewer housing vouchers for very low-income families, and would again require HUD to short-fund contracts with private housing owners and reduce payments to public housing authorities.

Homeless Assistance Grants.  The Administration urges the Congress to provide the FY 2014 Budget request for Homeless Assistance Grants, which funds a variety of intervention programs that serve homeless and at-risk individuals and families.  The Administration opposes the funding level provided for Homeless Assistance Grants, which is $293 million, or 12 percent, below the FY 2014 Budget request.  At this level, HUD would not be able to renew all existing grants that provide housing and shelter for the homeless, which would impact more than 86,000 homeless and formerly homeless households, including many veterans.

Choice Neighborhoods.  The Administration strongly objects to the $120 million rescission included in the bill for the Choice Neighborhoods program, and urges the Congress to provide the $400 million requested in the FY 2014 Budget.  Without this funding, public housing authorities and other local entities will have limited resources to support the revitalization of distressed HUD-assisted housing and to build ladders of opportunity for low-income families by improving economic development, creating jobs, and helping residents access educational opportunities in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Related Programs.  The Administration strongly opposes the $1.7 billion funding level provided for the CDBG program, which would have significant impacts on State and local resources for public improvements, infrastructure, affordable housing, and public services for low to moderate income families. The Administration also strongly opposes the lack of funding for Integrated Planning and Investment Grants and the new Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative.  The Administration urges the Congress to support these programs at the requested levels to invest in regional and local planning efforts and to support neighborhoods still feeling the effects of the foreclosure crisis.  In addition, the Administration objects to the level of funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which is $250 million below the Budget request.  The Administration urges the Congress to support this program at the requested level in order to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Housing Counseling.  The Administration opposes the reductions included in the Committee bill for counseling programs in HUD and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation of $39 million, or 30 percent, below the Administration’s request.  While the housing market has improved, there are still many households facing the aftermath of the financial crisis and counseling is an important resource in helping households find affordable and stable housing.

Housing Opportunities for People Living with AIDS (HOPWA).  The Administration strongly opposes the $29 million reduction to HUD’s program to provide housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.  The bill provides $303 million, which is 9 percent below the FY 2014 Budget request.  In the face of the ongoing domestic HIV epidemic, this cut would result in nearly 5,000 people losing housing services, severely affecting the health of homeless and marginally housed people living with HIV/AIDS and increasing treatment costs.

 

Civilian Pay Raise

The Administration urges the Congress to support the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees.  As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2014 appropriations process moves forward.

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DLM ALERT – Administration Statement of Policy Supporting FY14 Senate THUD Appropriation Bill

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

     July 23, 2013

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

S. 1243 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

(Sen. Mikulski, D-MD)

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 1243, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.

The Senate passed a budget which provides a concrete plan to grow our economy, create good middle class jobs and shrink our deficits in a balanced way, consistent with the President’s belief that our economy grows best from the middle-out, not the top-down, while reducing the debt as a share of the economy.  The Senate budget enables critical investments in education, infrastructure, innovation, and national security that support America’s continued economic recovery and best positions Americans and our economy to compete in the future.

S. 1243 is consistent with the budget framework that passed the Senate and the President’s Budget for FY 2014.  The bill makes important investments in transportation infrastructure that will help to fix America’s crumbling roads and bridges and upgrade and modernize the infrastructure that is so vital to the Nation’s economic security and long-term growth.  The bill also recognizes how important housing is to a sense of security for the American people.  This bill continues to provide critical housing assistance to America’s families, supports economic development in local communities, and contributes to the Nation’s ongoing housing recovery.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.

 

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants.  The Administration strongly supports the $550 million provided for TIGER Grants.  This competitive grant program is critical in helping communities around the country leverage their own resources to complete critical transportation projects.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations.  The Administration supports the Committee’s efforts to prioritize FAA Operations funding and provide funds at the requested level of $9.7 billion.  This funding level will allow the agency to hire to keep pace with attrition in its aviation safety and controller workforce.

FAA Facilities, Equipment, and NextGen.  The Administration strongly supports the Committee’s commitment to maintain legacy facilities and equipment while also investing in modernization of the Nation’s air traffic control system through NextGen.  The Senate Committee bill provides robust funding for the NextGen initiative.

National Railroad Passenger Corporations (Amtrak).  The Administration supports the Committee’s commitment to provide funding for grants to passenger rail.  The Committee bill combines Amtrak operating and capital accounts into a single Amtrak grant program, allowing for increased flexibility to address emergent needs.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment (New Starts) Grants.  The Administration supports the Committee’s commitment to investment in new public transit in cities across the Nation.  By providing the requested level for Transit New Starts, the bill will enable FTA to fund all existing New Starts grant agreements for projects currently under construction as well as support for the new projects recommended in the Budget, including a Core Capacity program grant as authorized in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

Pipeline Safety.  The Administration strongly supports the funding provided for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, which will allow for more pipeline safety inspectors and State grants to monitor and regulate the Nation’s 2.6 million miles of privately owned and operated pipelines.

 

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Core Rental Assistance.  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for HUD’s core rental assistance programs, which provide affordable rental housing for millions of low-income families.  The Administration urges the Congress to enact the full $20 billion request for the Housing Choice Voucher program in order to maximize assistance to families seeking decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private rental market.

Choice Neighborhoods.  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for Choice Neighborhoods, and urges the Congress to provide the full $400 million request for this program.  Choice Neighborhoods provides critical support to revitalize distressed HUD-assisted housing and build ladders of opportunity for low-income families by improving economic development, creating jobs, and helping residents access educational opportunities in surrounding communities.

Homeless Assistance Grants.  The Administration urges the Congress to provide the President’s request for Homeless Assistance Grants, which funds a variety of intervention programs that serve homeless and at-risk individuals and families, and urges Congress to provide the full $2.26 billion for these grants.  At this level, HUD would be able to serve at least 26,000 additional persons who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness.

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).  The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for CDBG, including $75 million for Integrated Planning and Investment Grants.  This funding provides critical State and local resources for public improvements, infrastructure, affordable housing, and public services for low- to moderate-income families, and supports planning efforts to help localities strategically invest those resources to achieve the greatest benefit for citizens.  The Administration urges the Congress to also support the proposed Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative to provide targeted assistance to neighborhoods still feeling the effects of the foreclosure crisis.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program.  The Administration supports the level of funding provided for the HOME Program, which provides grants to State and local governments to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Housing Counseling.  The Administration strongly supports the Committee’s full funding of counseling programs in HUD and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation that assist families in challenging housing situations.

 

Civilian Pay Raise

The Administration urges the Congress to support the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees.  As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2014 appropriations process moves forward.

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DLM ALERT – US House Appropriations Committee Releases FY14 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Committee just released the fiscal year 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which funds the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies.  The  bill’s $24.3 billion in base funding cuts 19%, $5.5 billion, from FY13 fiscal year 2013 enacted level (-19%) and $4 billion below current spending after sequester cuts.  The bill also contains $1.5 billion in emergency spending on wildfires, that it offsets with the rescission of unused funding  from the 2009 “stimulus” legislation.  Here is a link to the actual draft legislation: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2014-Interior-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf