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DLM ALERT – State, Foreign OP Appropriation Approved by Committee

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers   

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: June 11, 2015

Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2016 State and Foreign Operations Bill

Legislation will advance U.S. security abroad, support humanitarian aid, and cut lower-priority international programs to save tax dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill on a voice vote. The legislation funds the State Department and foreign assistance – prioritizing funding for American security efforts abroad, as well as critical humanitarian aid to areas facing war, conflict, and instability. The bill also supports activities to increase stability and security in areas such as the Middle East, Ukraine, and Latin America, and targets funds to embassy security, global health, refugee, and democracy programs. In order to make these focused investments, the bill reduces funds in nonessential or lower-priority areas.

In total, the bill provides $47.8 billion in both regular discretionary and Global War on Terror (GWOT) funding. This total is $1.4 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $6.1 billion below the President’s request for these programs. Within this amount, GWOT funding totals $7.3 billion – $1.9 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – to support operations and programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, to provide emergency humanitarian relief, and to promote counterterrorism and stabilization efforts in critical areas around the globe.

“This bill rightly prioritizes national security – providing critical aid to our strategic allies, securing key diplomatic outposts, and investing in programs that will grow democracy across the world. This funding will help find and defeat terrorists, prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, support peacekeeping operations, and fight drug trafficking,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “The bill also helps build democracy worldwide – targeting funds to life-saving development, global health, and humanitarian aid programs.”

State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger said:

“This legislation is first and foremost a national security bill. We live in an increasingly dangerous world where terrorist groups threaten the United States, our allies and partners, and our way of life. We see Russia and China continuing to assert territorial ambitions against its neighbors, and the threat of a nuclear Iran and its support and financing of terrorists is real,” Chairwoman Granger said. “The United States must do more to lead on the world’s stage. This bill addresses challenges head-on and demonstrates our commitment to programs that promote global security and American prosperity.”

The following amendment to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:

Rep. Granger – The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

The bill was approved on a voice vote.

For a summary of the bill, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394231

For the text of the bill, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2016-stateforop-subcommitteedraft.pdf

For the bill report, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-stateforop.pdf

DLM ALERT- Veto Threat on Defense Appropriations

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2685 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016 (Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2685, making appropriations for the Department of Defense (DOD) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes. The Administration supports investments essential to execute the President’s national security and defense strategies, and appreciates the Committee’s recognition that the President’s Budget level is needed for DOD, as well as its support of the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, which is a vital partnership-focused approach to counterterrorism. However, the bill drastically underfunds critical investments in DOD’s base budget and instead uses Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in ways that leaders in both parties have made clear are inappropriate. Base budget sequestration levels will damage our ability to restore readiness, advance badly-needed technological modernization, and keep faith with our troops and their families. Meanwhile, shifting base budget resources into OCO risks undermining a mechanism meant to fund incremental costs of overseas conflicts and fails to provide a stable, multi-year budget on which defense planning and fiscal policy are based. The use of OCO funding to circumvent budget caps in defense spending also ignores the long-term connection between national security and economic security and fails to account for vital national security functions carried out at non-defense agencies.

In addition, the bill fails to support many of the needed force structure and weapons system reforms included in the President’s Budget, and undermines a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round that would allow DOD to properly align the military’s infrastructure with the needs of its evolving force. The President’s defense strategy depends on investing every dollar where it will have the greatest effect, which the Administration’s FY 2016 proposals will accomplish through critical reforms that divest unneeded force structure, slow growth in compensation, and reduce wasteful overhead. The Committee’s changes would constrain the ability of DOD to align military capability and force structure with the President’s defense strategy, and would require the Department to retain unnecessary force structure and weapons systems that cannot be adequately resourced in today’s fiscal environment, contributing to a military that will be less capable of responding effectively to future challenges. The bill also continues unwarranted restrictions regarding detainees at Guantanamo Bay. If the President were presented with H.R. 2685, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Enacting H.R. 2685 and adhering to the congressional Republican budget’s overall spending limits for FY 2016 would hurt our economy and shortchange investments in middle-class priorities. Sequestration was never intended to take effect: rather, it was supposed to threaten such drastic cuts to both defense and non-defense funding that policymakers would be motivated to come to the table and reduce the deficit through smart, balanced reforms. The Republican framework would bring base discretionary funding for both non-defense and defense for FY 2016 to the lowest real levels in a decade. Compared to the President’s Budget, the cuts would result in tens of thousands of the Nation’s most vulnerable children losing access to Head Start, more than two million fewer workers receiving job training and employment services, and thousands fewer scientific and medical research awards and grants, along with other impacts that would hurt the economy, the middle class, and Americans working hard to reach the middle class.

Sequestration funding levels would also put our national security at unnecessary risk, not only through pressures on defense spending, but also through pressures on State, USAID, Homeland Security, and other non-defense programs that help keep us safe. More broadly, the strength of our economy and the security of our Nation are linked. That is why the President has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense.

The President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2685 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments needed for our economy to compete in the future. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to reverse sequestration for defense and non-defense priorities and offset the cost with commonsense spending and tax expenditure cuts, as Members of Congress from both parties have urged.

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

Department of Defense

Sequestration and Misuse of OCO Funds. The Administration strongly objects to the sequestration level appropriations in the bill for items that were requested in and belong in the base budget, as well as the use of OCO-a funding mechanism intended to pay for wars and not subject to the budget caps-to pay for $37.5 billion in base requirements. Sequestration adds risk to our national security by threatening the size, readiness, presence, and capability of our military, and threatens the economic security on which our national security depends. The Committee clearly recognizes that the President’s Budget level for defense is needed, but proposes to fund it by circumventing instead of increasing the budget caps. This approach fails to provide the stable, multi-year budget on which defense planning is based; undermines a mechanism meant to fund incremental costs of overseas conflicts; locks in unacceptable funding cuts for national security activities at non-defense agencies like the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs; and also undermines national security by undermining the Nation’s economic security.

Guantanamo Detainee Restrictions. The Administration strongly objects to sections 8100, 8101, and 8102 of the bill, which would restrict the Executive Branch’s ability to manage the detainee population at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility. Sections 8100 and 8101 would prohibit the use of funds for the transfer of detainees to the United States and for the construction, acquisition, or modification of any facility to house Guantanamo detainees in the United States. Section 8102 would continue restrictions relating to transfers of detainees abroad. The President has repeatedly objected to the inclusion of these and similar provisions in prior legislation and has called upon the Congress to lift the restrictions. Operating the detention facility at Guantanamo weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists. These provisions are unwarranted and threaten to interfere with the Executive Branch’s ability to determine the appropriate disposition of detainees and its flexibility to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests. Sections 8100 and 8102 would, moreover, violate constitutional separation-of-powers principles in certain circumstances.

Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC). The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress and MCRMC to improve our military compensation and retirement systems, and encourages the Congress to support the additional recommendations for which the Administration has transmitted legislation. The Administration continues to evaluate how the more complex recommendations of a Blended Retirement System would affect the All-Volunteer Force, and expects to provide the Committee with further views on this proposal in the near future. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress and MCRMC on other provisions, to meet our solemn responsibility to ensure that any changes protect the long-term viability of the All-Volunteer Force, improve quality-of-life for service members and their families, and safeguard the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems.

Compensation Reform. The FY 2016 Budget request provides the funding and common-sense reforms that will ensure that service members receive competitive pay and benefits and critical training and equipment. The Administration believes it is imperative to slow the growth of basic pay and housing allowances, modernize military healthcare, and reform how commissaries operate, and strongly encourages members of the Congress to support these reforms, which would save $1.7 billion in FY 2016 and $18 billion through FY 2020.

Prohibition on Conducting Additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Round. The Administration strongly objects to the proposed $10.5 million reduction to funds that would support a 2017 BRAC round. This impairs the ability of the Executive Branch to plan for contingencies or make other needed adjustments that would improve military effectiveness and efficiency. The Administration strongly urges the Congress to provide the BRAC authorization as requested, which would allow DOD to right-size its infrastructure while providing important assistance to affected communities, freeing resources currently consumed by maintaining unneeded facilities. In the absence of authorization of a new round of BRAC, the Administration will pursue alternative options to reduce this wasteful spending and ensure that DOD’s limited resources are available for the highest priorities of the warfighter and national security.

A-10 Aircraft. The Administration strongly objects to section 8120 of the bill, which is inconsistent with DOD’s fiscal constraints and current priorities. Section 8120 would restrict DOD from obligating or expending funds to retire A-10 aircraft. This restriction would eliminate about $350 million in savings for FY 2016 and $4.7 billion in savings through FY 2019. Further, it puts at risk needed recapitalization efforts adversely impacting the acquisition and manning of the Air Force fighter enterprise. DOD needs to focus its resources on the Joint Strike Fighter and other multi-mission aircraft, which will replace the A-10’s singular mission of close air support while also providing other critical capabilities.

Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI). The Administration strongly objects to section 8116 of the bill, which does not allow the transfer of any AH-64 Apache helicopters in FY 2016 and will negatively affect the Army’s readiness and ability to prepare and deploy forces to meet ongoing operations. The FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established limitations on the ARI, but provided for the transfer of certain numbers of aircraft in time for congressional review of the report of the Commission on the Future of the Army before transfer of additional aircraft. Delaying the transfer until the passage of the FY 2016 NDAA will damage the readiness of Army units in the 1st Infantry Division whose 24 AH-64s must transfer in October 2015, the 25th Infantry Division whose 24 AH-64s must transfer in February 2016, and the 10th Mountain Division whose 24 AH-64s must transfer in June 2016. The National Guard Bureau has concurred with the transfers and has plans in place with the States involved for the first 48 Apache aircraft. DOD’s plan for the transfer of select numbers of aircraft between the components in FY 2016 is in compliance with the FY 2015 NDAA and is the same as the number of Apache aircraft (72) that the National Guard Bureau agreed to transfer in its aviation proposal. The Administration urges the Congress to remain consistent with the FY 2015 NDAA and permit the transfer of 72 Apache aircraft in FY 2016.

Missile Defense Programs. The Administration strongly objects to funding reductions to several ballistic missile defense programs, specifically, the proposed reduction of $61.4 million to Improved Homeland Defense Interceptors (also known as the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program), which is needed to improve the reliability, producibility, and sustainability of the Ground-Based Interceptor. This reduction will delay the program beyond the required 2020 timeline to protect the United States. In addition, the Administration opposes the $25 million reduction to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications program and the $13 million reduction to the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor program. Funding for both efforts is critical to meet the President’s European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase III. Finally, the Administration objects to the Committee-proposed reductions of $38.2 million to Technology Maturation Initiatives and $26.2 million to Special Programs. These efforts are critical to ensuring the United States stays ahead of future ballistic missile threats.

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The Administration strongly objects to the elimination of all funding for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)-20 and its launch. By 2017, only one DMSP satellite will be within its design life. DOD has certified that this fully-built and recently-refurbished satellite is a cost-effective solution to the expected shortfall in polar-orbiting weather satellites, which the Government Accountability Office has chronicled in its High Risk List. Because weather satellite data are shared among defense, intelligence, civil, and international users, eliminating this satellite would have broad implications, including reduced accuracy of weather prediction models and degraded efficiency of surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. Launching DMSP-20 also provides a competitive launch opportunity, which is a cornerstone of the Department’s strategy to maintain assured access to space.

Funding Restriction on the Enforcement of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The Administration strongly objects to the prohibition of funding for the enforcement of section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This provision undercuts a law that provides an environmentally sound framework for the development of future alternative fuels, which contribute to a diverse, cost-competitive energy supply that enhances American energy security.

Unrequested Funding. In this fiscally constrained environment, the Administration strongly objects to the billions of dollars provided for items that were not in the FY 2016 Budget request, offset by equal reductions to higher priority items that the military needs. Unrequested items include $1 billion for extra Joint Strike Fighters, $1 billion for additional F-18 aircraft, $1.1 billion to reverse planned savings associated with compensation reform proposals, $1.5 billion for National Guard and Reserve Equipment, $1 billion for additional Army vehicles and weapons systems, $635 million to fund an Afloat Forward Staging Base, and $65 million for an additional CV-22 Osprey aircraft. The Administration has made extensive efforts to assess, prioritize, and balance force capacity, capability, and readiness in developing the FY 2016 Budget. The Administration also objects to section 8006 of the bill, which places spending on unrequested items into statute.

DDG-51 Destroyers. The Administration strongly objects to the reduction of $136.8 million in DDG-51 shipbuilding funds. This reduction would make the DDG-51 program unexecutable, and preclude award of the second FY 2016 DDG as the initial Flight III ship. This reduction would prevent the Navy from fielding the Flight III variant as planned, resulting in a delay of critically needed Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability to the Fleet.

Defense Health Program. The Administration strongly objects to the bill’s $1.4 billion reduction to the Defense Health Program within Operation and Maintenance. Military medicine has had dramatic cost increases in FY 2015, and these costs are projected to continue to rise. DOD has taken aggressive action to address increases in costs where possible and has strategies in place to continue these efforts. However, we must ensure the health of the force and their families, along with upholding the promise to our retirees. This will be increasingly difficult to achieve absent sufficient funding at the level established in the President’s Budget request. Without funding at the level requested, the Department will be forced to eliminate needed medical support programs and initiatives.

Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program. The Administration objects to the bill’s $74.7 million reduction to the Department of the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program, ship construction account. This funding reduction impacts five systems critical to the ship’s required capability, presenting unacceptable risk to CVN 79 being delivered as a fully usable military warfighting asset. The Department of the Navy, in conjunction with industry, has implemented oversight and funding proposals that will yield cost reductions in CVN 79 as compared to CVN 78. Any further reduction would place additional risk to delivering integral warfighting systems and would likely inhibit the Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program’s ability to meet the FY 2014 NDAA cost limitations for CVN 79 procurement.

Space Modernization Initiative (SMI). The Administration objects to the $191 million reduction in SMI funding for the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) and Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) System. The Department’s 2014 Space Strategic Portfolio review recommended significant changes to our space-based capabilities in the face of dramatically increasing threats. The SMI is the critical resource to enable the evolution of the current SBIRS and AEHF systems to assured architectures, consistent with the DOD analyses. Full funding of SMI allows the Department to dramatically reduce the technical, programmatic, and operational risks of these required architecture changes in advance of the major acquisition contract award, and assure that we will not suffer a capability gap in our most important mission areas. Failing to invest in SMI technology maturation now will limit these systems to 1995 sensor technology and the associated obsolescence in our next satellite acquisition.

Limitation on Authorization for Certain FY 2016 Projects. The Administration objects to section 8111 of the bill, which would limit expending funds associated with the construction of the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex Consolidation (JIAC), Phase 2, at Royal Air Force Croughton, United Kingdom, and would limit action to realign forces at Lajes Field, Azores, until the Department conveys specific information to the Committee. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on this issue in order to avoid the potential for significant financial costs during a period of constrained resources, uncertainty among our allies that share equities in the JIAC, and disruption in intelligence support to the warfighter.

Operation and Maintenance, Procurement, and Military Personnel Reductions. The Administration objects to the billions of dollars of undistributed reductions in the bill across the Operation and Maintenance, Procurement, and Military Personnel accounts. The Operation and Maintenance reductions would be applied to specific programs, which include facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization line items. These reductions will delay the Department’s full-spectrum readiness recovery efforts.

Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). The Administration appreciates the support the Committee provided for the DATA Act by fully funding the FY 2016 Budget request for the Department of Defense to implement the Act.

Classified Programs. The Administration looks forward to providing its views on the adjustments contained in the Classified Annex to the bill once it becomes available.

Additional Constitutional Concerns. Several other provisions in the bill raise constitutional concerns. For instance, section 8117 may interfere with the President’s authority as Commander in Chief and section 8009 could interfere with the President’s authority with regard to sensitive national security information.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2016 appropriations process moves forward.

DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Releases Financial Services Bill

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2015

Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Bill

Legislation funds U.S. judicial system, law enforcement, and programs to bolster small businesses while targeting IRS and other underperforming agencies for cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies.

The bill totals $20.2 billion in funding – $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $4.8 billion below the President’s budget request. With this funding, the legislation prioritizes critical national programs to enforce U.S. laws, maintain a fair and efficient judicial system, and help small businesses grow. In order to make these targeted investments, the bill reduces or eliminates lower-priority programs and cuts funding to poor-performing agencies – including an $838 million reduction to the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition, the bill includes several important policy provisions to rein in Administration overreach, cut bureaucratic red tape, and protect the rights of the American people. For example, the legislation includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing the individual mandate under ObamaCare, to protect the right to free speech and political involvement, and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from implementing a net-neutrality order.

“This is an important bill that will invest in programs to maintain the fundamental fabric of our nation – a just judicial system, an open marketplace that allows a fair and level playing field for all, and to provide opportunities for businesses large and small to thrive,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “While making good use of limited tax dollars, this legislation also makes great strides in reining in wasteful spending, and stopping harmful and unnecessary bureaucratic over-reach.”

“Every day, Americans are making tough decisions about their own budgets and rightfully expect federal agencies to do the same. While it reflects a very tight budget, this bill makes investments to support economic growth and job creation through our small businesses, and to protect our citizens by strengthening the enforcement of laws and the administration of justice,” said Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw. “In addition, the bill reduces funding for nonessential areas, and holds the Administration and the Internal Revenue Service more accountable to the taxpayer.”

Bill Highlights:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Included in the bill is $10.1 billion for the IRS a cut of $838 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2.8 billion below the President’s budget request. This will hold the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the fiscal year 2004 level. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, but will require the agency to streamline and better prioritize its budget. The bill also provides $2.2 billion – $75 million above current levels – for Taxpayer Services to measurably improve the rate that IRS answers telephone calls and correspondence from taxpayers.

In addition, due to the IRS’ inappropriate actions in targeting groups based on political beliefs, as well as its previous improper use of taxpayer funds, the bill includes the following provisions:

  • A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many nonprofit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech, simply because they may be involved in political activity;
  • A prohibition on funds for bonuses or to rehire former employees unless employee conduct and tax compliance is given consideration;
  • A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs;
  • A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights;
  • A prohibition on funds for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences;
  • A prohibition on funds for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization; and
  • A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending.
  • ObamaCare –The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.
  • Judiciary – Included in the bill is $6.9 billion for the federal courts – an increase of $214 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This will provide sufficient funding for all federal court activities, the supervision of offenders and defendants living in our communities, court security, and the timely and efficient processing of federal cases.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) – The bill contains $853 million for the SBA to help provide opportunities for American small businesses to get off the ground, grow our economy, and create more jobs for our workers. To this end, the bill fully funds business loans at $156 million, and fully funds disaster loan implementation costs at $187 million to allow for a quick and efficient process when unexpected natural disasters strike individuals and small businesses. The bill also funds several important programs above the President’s request, including a total of $117 million for Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), $12.3 million for the Small Business Veterans Outreach program, and $17 million for Women’s Business Centers (WBC).
  • General Services Administration (GSA) – The bill allows the GSA to spend $8.4 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund, a cut of $803 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This level of funding will cover the rent and other costs of buildings and properties owned or occupied by federal government agencies across the nation.The legislation also helps to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the GSA inventory by providing $70 million for space consolidation and $26 million to dispose of surplus properties. In addition, the bill continues strong oversight measures, including reporting on spending and the status of GSA’s facilities portfolio.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – Included in the bill is $1.5 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $222 million below the President’s budget request. The bill targets funding towards critical information technology initiatives, and prohibits the SEC from spending any money out of its “reserve fund” – essentially a slush fund without any congressional oversight.In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions and reporting requirements. For example, the bill requires the Administration to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act, prohibits the SEC from requiring the disclosure of political donation information in filings, and replaces the indemnification agreements with confidentiality agreements for swaps data repositories.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – The bill includes a provision to increase oversight over the CFPB by bringing funding for the agency under the annual congressional appropriations process, instead of direct funding from the Federal Reserve. This change will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency’s activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires extensive reporting on CFPB activities.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – The CPSC is funded at $122 million in the bill, $1 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $7 million below the request.
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The bill contains $315 million for the FCC – a cut of $25 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $73 million below the request. The legislation prohibits the FCC from implementing net neutrality until certain court cases are resolved, requires newly proposed regulations to be made publicly available for 21 days before the Commission votes on them, and prohibits the FCC from regulating rates for either wireline or wireless Internet service.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) The bill provides $302 million for the FTC, which is $9.5 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $6.7 million below the request.
  • Executive Office of the President (EOP) – The legislation contains $676 million for the EOP, which is $12.3 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill denies the President’s proposed cuts of $70 million to drug control efforts, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities programs, and instead increases funding for these programs by $7 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill also includes a requirement that the Office of Management and Budget prepare budgetary impact statements for Executive Orders and Presidential Memorandums.
  • District of Columbia – The bill contains a $678 million federal payment to the District of Columbia virtually equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $82 million below the request. Within this amount, the bill targets resources on public safety and security costs, and includes $45 million for the SOAR Act, which provides scholarships to low-income students in DC to attend private schools.In addition, the legislation maintains provisions prohibiting federal and local funds from being used for abortion or to further marijuana legalization, and a prohibition on federal funds from being used for needle exchanges in the District of Columbia.
  • Other Legislative Provisions – The legislation contains several policy provisions, including:
  • A prohibition against the use of funds for abortion in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program;
  • A prohibition on funding to require that entities applying for or conducting work under federal contracts disclose campaign contributions;
  • A prohibition on travel to Cuba for educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program, a prohibition on the importation of property confiscated by the Cuban Government, and a prohibition on financial transactions with the Cuban military or intelligence service;
  • A prohibition on funds for an increase in pay for the Vice President and other senior political appointees; and
  • A prohibition on funding to implement an Executive Order on flood management.
  • For the Subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-FServices-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

DLM ALERT -House Passes THUD Appropriations

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2015

Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill Passes House

Bill will fund critical infrastructure and safety programs, provide responsible levels of funding for low-income housing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today approved the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill (H.R. 2577) on a vote of 216 -210. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies.

In total, the bill reflects an allocation of $55.3 billion in discretionary spending – an increase of $1.5 billion above fiscal year 2015 and $9.7 billion below the President’s budget request. However, given reduced offsets – primarily caused by a $1.1 billion decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts – the bill actually represents an increase of only $25 million above the current level. Within the legislation, funds are targeted toward transportation, infrastructure, and housing programs of national need and significance that have the biggest impact on Americans and communities across the country.

“The bill passed today will fund a wide range of federal programs that affect every citizen of every district of every state. From the transportation infrastructure that moves goods, people, and businesses around the country, to the housing options that help those in most need, the benefits of the programs in this bill are felt far and wide,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “We face tight budget restrictions, yet this bill provides adequate investments in critical infrastructure and much-relied-upon housing programs. I thank my colleagues for their support today, and their continued support as this legislation continues through the process.”

For the House-passed amendments to H.R 2577, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/06.09.15_FY_2016_Transportation_Housing_and_Urban_Development_Bill_-_Floor_Adopted_Amendments.pdf

For a summary of the bill, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394177

For the text of the bill, please visit:

https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr2577/BILLS-114hr2577rh.pdf 

For the text of the report, please visit:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt129/CRPT-114hrpt129.pdf

DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Approves CJS Bill

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2015

Contact: Jennifer Hing, (202) 226-7007

Appropriations Committee Approves the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

Bill targets funding to federal law enforcement, national security efforts, and space exploration 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill on a voice vote. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

The legislation contains $51.4 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3 billion over fiscal year 2015 and $661 million below the President’s request for these programs. The bill prioritizes funding for law enforcement, national security, science, and space exploration programs.

“This bill supports a broad range of federal programs that are important to our safety, our economy, and our nation’s place as a global leader in research and innovation,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “It prioritizes law enforcement, counterterrorism and cyber security, and important science programs, while weeding out waste and excess. The sound investments in this legislation will help spur American innovation both today and into the future.”

“This is a tough budget year, but this bill ensures our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to protect our lives and property,” said CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson. “It also makes important scientific research a top priority. Breakthroughs in these areas are vital to America’s future economic growth.”

The following amendments to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:

Rep. Culberson – The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Farr –The amendment increases funds for the NOAA Bay Watershed and Training education program by $7.2 million, offset by a cut to the NOAA Administrative account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Wasserman-Schultz – The amendment adds $5 million to the DOJ Rape Survivor Child Custody Act program, offset by a cut to the Commerce Departmental Management account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. McCollum – The amendment adds report language to support DOJ efforts to prevent the recruitment of at-risk youth to terrorist activities, and requests a report on these efforts. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz – The amendment designates $1 million in funding within the Missing and Exploited Children program, for the purpose of hiring wounded warriors to assist with these cases. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Fattah – The amendment names the Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) initiative in honor of officer Robert Wilson III. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

The bill was approved by the Committee on a voice vote.

For a bill summary, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394203

For the text of the bill, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-CJS-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

 

For the bill report, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-cjs.pdf

 

 

 

DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Releases Defense Bill

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2015

House Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Bill

Legislation funds military operations, readiness, and health and safety programs for our troops

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds critical national security needs, military operations abroad, and health and quality-of-life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.

In total, the bill provides $578.6 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $24.4 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $800 million above the President’s request. This includes $88.4 billion in Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding for war efforts and related costs, which is within the level assumed in the House and Senate budget conference agreement.

“Threats to our country and on our people continue to grow, and around the world new areas of concern seem to sprout up almost monthly. It is now more important than ever to provide our troops and commanders with the tools and support they need to protect our great nation and our way of life,” Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill makes the most of a very tight budget, utilizing all resources to ensure that our military remains the best in the world, and that they are ready and able to protect all of us from those that wish to do harm.”

“To date, this Subcommittee has worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that our armed forces are agile, efficient, ready and lethal,” said Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “This legislation recognizes that it is an increasingly dangerous world and we must guarantee that our military and intelligence community have the strength and capability to meet the rise of Islamic terror groups and other emerging threats and deter would be aggressors like Iran, China, and Russia and North Korea. I am proud that we have kept faith with the brave men and women, and their families, who selflessly serve our country.”

Bill Highlights:

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) – The legislation provides $88.4 billion for the Global War on Terrorism. This funding will provide the needed resources for the preparation and operation of our forces in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.

Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $133.2 billion – $122.8 billion in base funding and $10.5 billion in GWOT funding – to provide for 1,308,915 active-duty troops and 819,200 Guard and reserve troops. This funding level is $225 million above fiscal year 2015, and provides critical support for the Global War on Terror and the defense of our nation. The bill fully funds the authorized 2.3 percent pay raise for the military, instead of 1.3 percent as requested by the President, and provides funding to maintain 100 percent of troop housing costs through the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $218.8 billion – $162.3 billion in base funding and $56.5 billion in GWOT funding – for operation and maintenance, $6.2 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2.6 billion above the President’s request. This funding supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations. Within this amount, the bill includes an additional $3.2 billion to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.4 billion to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $90 million for depot maintenance programs.

Research and Development – The bill contains $67.9 billion – $66.2 billion in base funding and $1.7 billion in GWOT funding – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This is $4 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level, and will help to advance the safety and success of current and future military operations and prepare our nation to meet a broad range of future security threats.

Specifically, this funding will support research and development of: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; the GPS III operational control and space segments; the new Air Force bomber program; a next-generation JSTARS aircraft; the RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Navy’s Future Unmanned Carrier-based Strike System, the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Stryker lethality; the Israeli Cooperative Programs; and other important research and development activities.

Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $116.7 billion – $98.6 billion in base funding and $18.1 billion in GWOT funding – for equipment and upgrades. This is $12.5 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $3 billion above the President’s request. These funds support our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our military needs to train, maintain the force, and conduct successful operations.

For example, the bill includes: $16.9 billion to procure nine Navy ships, including two DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, and three Littoral Combat Ships; $8.4 billion for 65 F-35 aircraft; $1.2 billion for 64 AH-64 helicopters; $3 billion for 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $1.6 billion for 102 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters; $2.3 billion for 12 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $660 million for seven EA-18G Growler aircraft; $350 million for 5 FA-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $315 million for Stryker lethality upgrades; and $55 million for the Israeli Cooperative Program Iron Dome.

Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains $31.7 billion – $667 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $813 million below the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. While below the current year, this level is sufficient to meet the entire scope of all estimated needs and requirements in the next fiscal year.

The bill provides $252 million for cancer research, $105 million for medical facility upgrades, $100 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, $212 million for suicide prevention outreach programs, and $283 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request for these programs.

Military Force Structure – The bill ensures the A-10 Warthog remains available for close air support, and to ensure that Army National Guard end strength and full-time support levels do not fall below fiscal year 2015 authorized levels. The bill also provides language prohibiting the transfer of AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to the regular Army during fiscal year 2016.

Savings and Reductions to the President’s Request – The bill reflects common-sense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions. Some of these savings include: $1.15 billion for favorable foreign currency fluctuations, $814 million from lower than expected fuel costs, and $870 million in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.

For text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-Defense-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Approves THUD Bill

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers   

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2015

Contact: Jennifer Hing, (202) 226-7007

Appropriations Committee Approves the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill

Bill will fund critical infrastructure and safety programs, provide responsible levels of funding for low-income housing 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill on a vote of 30-21. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. It will now go to the House floor for consideration.

In total, the bill reflects an allocation of $55.3 billion in discretionary spending – an increase of $1.5 billion above fiscal year 2015 and $9.7 billion below the President’s budget request. However, given reduced offsets – primarily caused by a $1.1 billion decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts – the bill actually represents an increase of only $25 million above the current level. Within the legislation, funds are targeted toward transportation, infrastructure, and housing programs of national need and significance that have the biggest impact on Americans and communities across the country.

“This bill strikes a smart, intentional balance between funding essential programs and making responsible reductions to lower-priority activities to make sure we meet our tight-budget guidelines.” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This balance allows for important investments in national transportation infrastructure and programs that promote our economic well-being, and to help those people who are in dire need of affordable housing options.”

Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart said, “This bill supports our nation’s most critical infrastructure and housing needs by focusing on core operations and cutting wasteful programs. Though difficult decisions had to be made, I am confident our priorities will ensure the stability of these vital areas. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to move this bill through the legislative process.

The following amendments to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:

Rep. Diaz Balart – The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Culberson – The amendment prohibits funds for two light rail projects in Harris County, TX, unless the voters within the jurisdiction approve the projects. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Lowey – The amendment increases the set aside for Highway Rail Grade Crossings within the Federal Highway Administration Highway Formula by $130 million. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Kaptur – The amendment increases funds for the St. Lawrence Seaway account by $3 million, offset by a cut to the Maritime Operations and Training account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Rigell – The amendment increases funds for the Washington Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) by $25 million, offset by a $22 million cut from the Federal Aviation Administration and a $3 million cut to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administrative account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote. 

The bill was approved by the Committee on a vote of 30-21.

For a summary of the bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394177

For the text of the bill, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-fc-ap-fy2016-ap00-thud.pdf

For the text of the report, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-thud.pdf

#####

 

 

DLM ALERT- House Appropriations Releases CJS Bill

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

Website address: http://appropriations.house.gov/

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2015

Contact: Jennifer Hing, (202) 226-7007

Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

Bill targets funding to federal law enforcement, national security efforts, and space exploration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

The legislation contains $51.4 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3 billion over fiscal year 2015 and $661 million below the President’s request for these programs. The bill prioritizes funding for law enforcement, national security, science, and space exploration programs.

“This legislation increases funds for some of the most important aspects of our government – federal law enforcement agencies and counterintelligence efforts that protect families and communities across the nation and bring those who break our laws to justice,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “It also maintains investments in important scientific research, economic innovation, and programs that will allow our nation to continue to lead in the global economy and put us on the fast track to increased job growth. It is a good bill, and I’m proud to support it.”

“This is a tough budget year, but this bill ensures our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to protect our lives and property,” said CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson. “It also makes important scientific research a top priority. Breakthroughs in these areas are vital to America’s future economic growth.”

Bill Highlights:

Department of Justice (DOJ) – The bill funds DOJ at $27.5 billion, an increase of $852 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding will strengthen critical investigation, law enforcement, and prosecution activities to protect the safety and well-being of communities across the country.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The bill includes $8.6 billion for the FBI – an increase of $111 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this funding, priority is given to counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and cybercrime.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The DEA is funded at $2.4 billion in the legislation, an increase of $45 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This includes $372 million for regulatory and enforcement efforts to combat prescription drug abuse.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The legislation contains $1.25 billion for the ATF, $49 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill continues all provisions carried in previous years related to Second Amendment rights, and makes four of these provisions permanent law. Also included is a provision prohibiting funding for an unauthorized reporting and registration requirement on the sale of multiple rifles to the same person in various border states.
  • Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $2 billion for various grant programs, a reduction of $334 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this amount, funds are targeted to the highest-priority national programs, including $474 million for Violence Against Women programs (an increase of $44 million), $409 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $33 million), $220 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (which the President proposed to eliminate), and $68 million for missing and exploited children programs.

In addition, the bill creates a new, $50 million “Community Trust Initiative.” This will fund efforts to improve the safety of local communities and support police training and research, including: $15 million for body camera pilots and research, $30 million for justice reform and collaboration efforts, and $5 million for improved statistics collection.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $18.5 billion in the bill, $519 million above the 2015 enacted level. This funding includes:

  • $4.8 billion for Exploration – $403 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program, and to continue progress in the commercial crew program.
  • $5.2 billion for NASA Science programs – $7 million below the 2015 enacted level. This includes funding above the President’s request for planetary science to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs.

Department of Commerce – The bill includes $8.2 billion for the Commerce Department, a reduction of $251 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.6 billion below the President’s request for these programs. This includes funding for the following agencies:

      • Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $3.3 billion for the PTO, which is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2016. The bill also includes a provision that allows the PTO to use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to congressional approval.
      • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $855 million in the bill, which is $9 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this total, important core research activities are funded at $675 million to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth, and to improve cyber security.

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.2 billion for NOAA, which is $274 million below the enacted level. Within this total, the National Weather Service is funded at $968 million – $4 million above the President’s request. The bill also includes full funding for the continuation of the current Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite program to help maintain and improve weather forecasting to warn communities about potentially devastating natural disasters.

  • Census Bureau – The Census Bureau is funded at $1.1 billion in the bill, $25 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $387 million below the request. The additional funding is for research and planning activities as we approach the next decennial census. 
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion, an increase of $50 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding is targeted to programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, neuroscience and STEM education.

 

Savings – The bill makes reductions to several lower-priority programs for a savings of over $400 million compared to fiscal year 2015, and it rescinds $375 in unused prior year funds.

Other Provisions – The bill includes several policy provisions, such as:

  • Continuation of a prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.;
  • Continuation of various existing provisions related to firearms;
  • A prohibition on NASA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized or certified via procedures established in the bill;
  • Prohibits funds for exports to the Cuban military officers or their families;
  • Continues language prohibiting funds to relinquish the responsibility of Department of Commerce with respect to Internet domain name system functions; and
  • A continuation of existing policies related to the sanctity of life. For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-CJS-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

DLM ALERT – OMB Statement on House THUD Appropriation

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D. C . 20503

THE DIRECTOR

May 11,2015

The Honorable Hal Rogers Chairman Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Rogers:
On April29, 2015, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee considered the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The Administration supports investments in transportation infrastructure, as well as investments in ending homelessness, strengthening communities, and providing rental housing assistance for poor and vulnerable families. However, we have a number of serious concerns about this legislation, which would underfund these important investments and includes highly problematic ideological riders. In advance of Full Committee consideration ofthe Subcommittee bill, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of these concerns with you.
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill is among the first appropriations bills being considered under the congressional Republicans’ 2016 budget framework, which would lock in sequestration funding levels for FY 2016. Sequestration was never intended to take effect: rather, it was supposed to threaten such drastic cuts to both defense and non-defense funding that policymakers would be motivated to come to the table and reduce the deficit through smart, balanced reforms. The Republicans’ 2016 budget framework would bring base discretionary funding for both nondefense and defense to the lowest levels in a decade, adjusted for inflation. Compared to the President’s Budget, the cuts would result in tens of thousands of the Nation’s most vulnerable children losing access to Head Start, more than two million fewer workers receiving job training and employment services, and thousands fewer scientific and medical research awards and grants, along with other impacts that would hurt the economy, the middle class, and Americans working hard to reach the middle class.
Sequestration funding levels would also put our national security at unnecessary risk, not only through pressures on defense spending, but also through pressures on State, USAID, Homeland Security, and other non-defense programs that help keep us safe. More broadly, the strength of our economy and the security of our Nation are linked. That is why the President has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense. The President’s Budget would reverse sequestration and replace the savings with commonsense spending and tax reforms. It brings middle-class economics into the 21st Century and makes the critical investments needed to support our
national security and accelerate and sustain economic growth in the long run, including research, education, training, and infrastructure.
The inadequate overall funding levels in the Republicans’ 2016 budget framework cause a number of problems with the Subcommittee bill specifically. Overall, according to the Subcommittee, this bill reduces funding by about $9.7 billion, or 15 percent, below the President’s Budget, which both reverses sequestration and proposes a long-term, fully-paid-for surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The funding levels in the bill would prevent State and local partners from making crucial investments in surface transportation infrastructure. In addition, the Nation has recently been reminded of the importance of transforming areas of concentrated poverty and revitalizing communities. Yet at a time when only one in four families who are eligible for housing assistance actually receives it, the bill would set back our efforts to end homelessness and shortchange housing support for very-low income households, including families with children, the elderly, and the disabled. The bill also slashes funding for other vulnerable populations, such as low-income children at risk of lead poisoning, and for programs that invest in public housing in order to revitalize communities and transform areas of concentrated poverty. For example:
•  Compared to the President’s Budget, the Subcommittee bill would cut funding for competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants by over a billion dollars, reducing TIGER funding to about 80 percent below the lowest level since the program began in 2009, despite the fact that it is vastly oversubscribed, supports some of the most transformative highway, port, and transit projects in the United States, and helps State and local partners leverage public and private dollars. The bill also underfunds the President’s request for support of locally-planned, implemented, and operated transit capital investments, or “new starts,” by $1.3 billion, or 41 percent. In contrast to the President’s Budget, the combination of sequestration funding levels and the lack of any plan for a long-term surface transportation reauthorization not only precludes new investments, it leads the Subcommittee bill to freeze or cut most major capital accounts below prior year levels.
•  The Subcommittee bill provides $2.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Facilities and Equipment account-$355 million below the President’s Budget request and the lowest funding level in 15 years, even before taking into account inflation. At this level, the FAA would be hampered in its ability to maintain the capacity and safety of the current National Airspace System and would be required to slow the modernization of the Nation’s air traffic system through NextGen-the next generation of air traffic control technology that will help consumers and airlines alike save time and money. Allowing the current air traffic control system to deteriorate through deferred maintenance while at the same time delaying the transition to NextGen would lead to worsening air traffic delays and higher replacement costs in the future.
•  The Subcommittee bill fails to adequately fund Housing Choice Vouchers, providing $1.2 billion, or 6 percent, less than the President’s request for this assistance to the Nation’s most vulnerable families and individuals. Not only does the Subcommittee bill fail to restore the 67,000 vouchers lost due to the 2013 sequestration, the funding level is also insufficient to renew 28,000 existing vouchers or provide full funding for tenant protection needs. In total, compared to the President’s Budget, the Subcommittee bill would provide roughly 100,000 fewer vouchers. Without these vouchers, the Department ofHousing and Urban Development (HUD) would be unable to continue assistance to many low income households, or provide new vouchers for families, veterans, and tribal families experiencing homelessness; victims of domestic or dating violence; youth aging out of foster care; and families with children in the foster care system for whom voucher assistance could facilitate reunification. These cuts are only more problematic in light of new research released just last week that found large positive effects of housing vouchers on long-term educational and earnings outcomes for young children.
•  Compared to the President’s Budget, the Subcommittee bill cuts support for Homeless Assistance Grants by roughly $295 million, or 12 percent, supporting 15,000 fewer homeless or at-risk families with rapid rehousing and 25,500 fewer units of permanent supportive housing targeted to the chronically homeless. In 2010, the President set ambitious goals to end homelessness. Since that time, we have made significant progress, working in partnership with States, local communities, and non-profit partners to help reduce the total number of veterans experiencing homelessness by 33 percent and the number of unsheltered homeless veterans by 43 percent. While we have also made progress in combatting homelessness among other populations-including the chronically homeless, families, and youth–our efforts have been stunted by limited resources and the 2013 sequestration. The Subcommittee bill shows how reverting to sequestration funding levels for domestic investments would once again undermine our efforts on critical priorities, such as ending homelessness for all Americans, including veterans.
•  Despite the importance of meeting the challenge of addressing concentrated poverty and disrupting the cycle of lost opportunities, the Subcommittee bill also sharply cuts other investments in vulnerable communities. It slashes HUD’s Office ofLead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes by nearly 40 percent, resulting in at least 3,400 fewer low-income children receiving lead hazard control in their home~ It provides $230 million, or 92 percent, less than the President’s request for Choice Neighborhoods, a key part of the President’s Promise Zone Initiative to accelerate economic mobility and revitalization in high-poverty communities. The bill would force the program to fund only one small implementation grant and would leave dozens of distressed HUD-assisted communities untouched. The bill’s 15 percent or $289 million cut to the Public Housing Capital Fund from the President’s Budget would cause further deterioration of public housing.
The Subcommittee bill also includes highly problematic ideological riders. The Administration strongly objects to the provisions that would restrict travel to Cuba, and places unnecessary restrictions on American citizens who seek to travel to Cuba for educational, religious, or other permitted travel to Cuba. The Administration also strongly objects to prohibiting the Surface Transportation Board from taking any action to approve subsequent phases of the California High Speed Rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Administration believes passenger rail can play an important role in addressing transportation needs and opposes any attempts to limit State and local choices to enhance passenger rail. Some of the riders included in the bill would undercut public safety, including by letting the trucking industry skirt truck size and weight limits and by preventing data-driven changes that would improve safety for all travelers by addressing truck driver fatigue (‘1Hours of Service11). The bill would also undermine Federal energy efficiency requirements in BUD-assisted housing.
The Administration believes that the Congress should consider appropriations bills free of unrelated ideological provisions. The inclusion ofthese provisions threatens to undermine an orderly appropriations process.
As your Committee takes up the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee bill, we look forward to working with you to address these concerns. More broadly, we look forward to working with the Congress to reverse sequestration for defense and non-defense priorities, and offset to the cost with commonsense spending and tax expenditure cuts, as Members of Congress from both parties have urged.
Sincerely,
Director

DLM ALERT – House Passes Military Construction/Veterans Appropriation

NEWS

House Appropriations Committee

Chairman Hal Rogers  

House Passes Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Legislation

Bill will fund programs for our troops, military families, veterans and defense infrastructure 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On a bipartisan basis, the U.S. House today approved the fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill (H.R. 2029) on a vote of 255-163.

The legislation contains funding to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide housing and services to military families, and help maintain base infrastructure. The bill also funds veterans’ benefits and programs.

In total, the bill provides $76.6 billion in discretionary funding – $4.6 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level. This represents a 5.6 percent increase over the fiscal year 2015 level for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – including increases for health care, benefit claims processing, the Board of Veterans Appeals, medical and prosthetic research, and information technology. Of this funding, $58.7 billion was provided in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill. Military construction is increased by $904 million over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, which allows for full funding of family housing, construction of hospitals and health facilities, and support for critical overseas investments.

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the legislation today:

“The FY 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill provides discretionary funding for important veterans benefits and services, and for the infrastructure that supports the brave men and women serving in our Armed Forces and their families,” Chairman Rogers said. “In all, this bill totals $4.6 billion above last year – a demonstration of our commitment to our warfighters, our veterans, and their loved ones, who have sacrificed so much to protect this great nation.”

“This is the first bill of the Appropriations process, and I am pleased that we are off to such an early start – the earliest start since at least 1974 – continuing our good work from last year. I am optimistic that we will have a successful appropriations year, finishing on time and under regular order,” Chairman Rogers added.

For a list of amendments adopted to the bill on the House floor, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/4.29.15_FY_2016_MilCon-VA_-_Floor_Adopted_Amendments.pdf

For the text of the bill, please visit:

https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr2029/BILLS-114hr2029rh.pdf

For the bill report, please visit:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt92/CRPT-114hrpt92.pdf

 

For a bill summary, please visit:

http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394141