House FY19 "Minibus" for Interior & Environment, Financial Services & General Gov't
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The Senate has amended the House-passed "minibus" appropriations bill providing $59 billion in funding for the Interior & Environment and Financial Services & General Gov't appropriations bills, which passed the House in a 217-199 vote on July 19, 2018. The Senate bill includes its versions of those appropriations packages, plus Agriculture and Transportation, Housing & Urban Development. The House-passed bill can be found below.
What is it?
This bill would provide $58.65 billion in FY2019 funding for agencies and programs usually funded by two of the 12 annual appropriations bills: the Interior & Environment and Financial Services & General Government spending bills. The total funding would be equal to appropriations from the prior fiscal year, and a detailed summary of this “minibus” spending bill’s provisions can be found below:
INTERIOR & ENVIRONMENT
This section of the bill would provide a total of $35.25 billion in FY19 funding for the Dept. of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies — an amount equal to the prior fiscal year.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA would receive $7.958 billion in funding, $100 million less than the prior year. Funding for its regulatory programs would be $228 million below the current level, and it facilitates the administration’s reorganization of the EPA workforce by providing resources to offer buyouts and voluntary separation agreements to employees.
Funding would be targeted and increased in several areas, including:
- A total of $2.6 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which states and localities use for water infrastructure projects.
- An increase of $40 million to accelerate the cleanup of Superfund sites to return them to productive use and spur economic development.
- A total of $75 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to leverage federal dollars to help finance more than $8 billion in water infrastructure projects.
The EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which aimed to expand the application of the Clean Water Act to seasonal ponds and irrigation ditches, would be fully repealed. The EPA would be prohibited from advancing regulations regarding lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle, and from making changes to certain agricultural exemptions under the Clean Water Act. Further, livestock operations would be relieved from EPA permitting requirements and livestock producers would be exempt from greenhouse gas regulations.
Additionally, the bill would provide a directive to the EPA, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and Dept. of Energy to establish policies that reflect the carbon neutrality of biomass.
Wildland Firefighting & Prevention: Funding for wildland firefighting and prevention would total $3.9 billion, which equals the 10-year average for fire suppression by the Dept. of the Interior and the Forest Service. It’d also provide an additional $500 million for the Forest Service’s suppression operations, and another $655 million for hazardous fuels management — an increase of $30 million from the prior year.
U.S. Forest Service: A total of $6.1 billion would be provided to the Forest Service, including $3 billion for wildland firefighting and suppression. Programs to combat pests, diseases, and invasive species would get an increase of $19.5 million in funding. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management would be prohibited from issuing new closures of public lands to hunting or recreational shooting except in cases of public safety.
Native American Programs: This section would provide $5.9 billion for the Indian Health Service, an increase of $370 million from the prior year. The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education would receive $3.1 billion — up $40 million from the prior year.
National Park Service (NPS): The NPS would receive $3.25 billion for FY19, up $53 million from the year prior. Of the total, an additional $50 million would be allocated for park operations. To address a longstanding backlog of deferred maintenance, $175 million more than the prior year would be provided, including a $40 million increase for maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation projects and a $135 million increase for deferred maintenance.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): The FWS would receive $1.6 billion for FY19, a decrease of $11 million from the prior year. Investments would be targeted to reduce the deferred maintenance backlogs within the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System and to ensure that fish hatcheries continue to operate.
Funding to recover and delist threatened and endangered species would be increased by $5.5 million, including a $2.5 million increase for Recovery Challenge matching grants to share the costs of recovery with corporate and other non-governmental partners.
The gray wolves would be delisted from the Endangered Species Act on account of their recovery, while the unnecessary listing of the greater sage grouse would be prohibited.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM): A total of $1.4 billion in FY19 funding would be provided for the BLM, up $55 million from the prior year. Of that, $60 million would be provided for on-the-ground sage grouse conservation to protect the species and preserve federal lands for public and private uses such as energy development, ranching, recreation, and military training.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): The USGS would receive $1.2 billion in funding for FY19, an increase of $19 million from the prior year. Funding would be targeted to critical infrastructure investments in natural hazards programs, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, and critical materials mapping activities. That’d include $21 million for an earthquake early warning system to help save lives during natural disasters; a $13 million increase for the streamgage network; and $11 million for the Three Dimensional Mapping and Economic Empowerment Program. Further, the development of a satellite program to provide land use measurements to local communities related to agriculture, forestry, energy and water resources known as “Landsat 9” would be fully funded.
Smithsonian Institution: The Smithsonian would receive $1 billion for FY19, up $12 million from the prior year, to allow all current operations and programs to continue. That’d include $225 million toward the multi-year renovation of the National Air and Space Museum.
Federal Payments to Local Communities: A total of $500 million would be provided to local communities through the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT), which provide funds to local governments in 49 states to offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties.
Office of Surface Mining (OSM): The OSM would receive $229 million, including $90 million to continue a pilot program to accelerate the reclamation of abandoned mine lands and $68 million for state regulatory grants.
FINANCIAL SERVICES & GENERAL GOVERNMENT
This section of the bill would provide a total of $23.4 billion in FY19 funding for the Treasury Dept., the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and other agencies — an amount equal to the prior fiscal year.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): A total of $11.6 billion would be provided to the IRS, an increase of $186 million from the prior year. Of that, $77 million would be targeted to implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
An additional $31 million above the FY18 funding level would be available to support IRS Taxpayer Services to support and improve aspects of customer service such as phone call and correspondence response times, as well as fraud prevention & cybersecurity.
Provisions of current law related to safeguards, funding prohibitions, and oversight of taxpayer dollars at the IRS that have been carried out in recent years would be maintained.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: This section would provide $415 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which includes $280 million for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and $118 million for other federal drug control programs. In addition, an extra $15.4 million would be provided to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General to continue drug interdiction efforts and investigations.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC): The FCC would receive $335 million in FY19 funding, which would provide for the agency’s salaries and expenses and to support payments to TV and radio broadcasters out of the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.
Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA would receive $737 million in FY19 funding to help promote opportunities for American small businesses to begin, grow, and prosper. That includes the full funding needed to support $30 billion in 7(a) and $7.5 billion in 504 small business loans. The total also includes $12.3 million for veterans programs, $18 million for Women’s Business Centers, and $130 million for Small Business Development Centers.
General Services Administration (GSA): The GSA would be allowed to spent $8.6 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund to cover the rent and other costs of buildings and properties owned or occupied by federal agencies across the nation. Additionally, it’d provide $276 million to fund the second and final phase of construction of the Calexico, CA Land Port of Entry.
Funding would also be provided for the following purposes:
- $150 million for the Technology Modernization Fund for upgrades and improvements to IT systems across the government to prevent cybercrimes, terrorism, and intrusion.
- $31 million for the Asset Proceeds and Space Management Fund, which would be used to carry out the recommendations of the Public Buildings Reform Board and reduce the inventory of excess federal property to save taxpayer dollars.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): The SEC would receive $1.66 billion in FY19 funding for salaries and expenses, a reduction of $201 million from the prior year due to last year’s one-time costs associated with GSA lease renewals. It would also prohibit the agency from requiring the disclosure of political contributions in SEC filings.
Judiciary: A total of $7.2 billion would be provided for federal courts, an increase of $155 million from the prior year. This funding would provide for all federal court activities, the supervision of offenders and defendants living in our communities, court security, and the processing of federal cases.
District of Columbia: A $751 million federal payment would be made to D.C. for FY19, an increase of $30 million from the prior year, which goes to supporting courts and other public safety functions. Increases would go toward completing courthouse consolidation projects, and lease and moving costs. It’d also provide $45 million for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR), which awards scholarships to low-income students in D.C. to attend private schools.
Additionally, this section would:
- Maintain prohibitions on the use of federal and local funds for abortion.
- Maintain prohibitions on further marijuana legalization.
- Maintain a prohibition on federal funds from being used for needle exchanges and the supervised consumption of any Schedule I substances in D.C.
- Prohibit funds for the D.C. Death with Dignity Act and fully repeal the local legislation.
- Prohibit funds for the enforcement of the D.C. Reproductive Non-Discrimination Act.
Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids: This section would create a Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids with $585 million, which would be safeguarded for future generations because it could only be accessed when the budget deficit is erased.
- The use of funds in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program for abortion would be prohibited.
- The use of funds to require that entities applying for or conducting work under federal contracts disclose campaign contributions would be prohibited.
- The Postal Service’s six-day mail delivery requirement would be maintained.
- The Email Privacy Act, which would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before checking your emails stored on online servers, would be included in this bill.
This bill balances a host of competing needs to maintain funding for public lands, environmental protection, federal financial regulators, address the opioid crisis, and help small businesses.
This bill goes too far by reducing the EPA’s budget and making it more difficult for the agency to enforce environmental protections and meddling with local District of Columbia policies.
Visitors to National Parks and other public lands; taxpayers; small businesses; D.C. residents and their local government; relevant federal agencies; and Congress.
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $59 billion in FY2019.
In-Depth: House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) said the following about the Interior & Environment funding package:
“The Interior Subcommittee has made every effort to balance a host of competing needs and provided the Interior Department, EPA and other agencies under our jurisdiction with the resources necessary to carry out their mission. Our bill funds a number of American priorities like our National Park Service, the Smithsonian, Native American programs, efforts to prevent and combat wildfires, and the development of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. Once again we provide important funding for EPA programs that clean our environment, but do not increase the size of the federal bureaucracy.”
House Democrats opposed the Interior & Environment bill, saying it “fails the American people by cutting environmental protection; shredding safeguards that protect our air, water, and endangered species; and allowing rampant corruption in the Executive Branch to go unchecked.”
The Interior & Environment bill passed the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line 25-20 vote.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) said the following about the Financial Services & General Gov’t funding bill:
“The bill targets resources for important programs that will continue current growth, including providing small businesses – the backbone of our economy – with the loans they need to compete at home and abroad. It also makes important investments to address some of the many challenges facing our nation – providing funding to fight the crushing opioid epidemic and to protect against cyber-crime. Further, it does this while also demanding tough oversight of federal programs and accountability for the use of every tax dollar.”
House Democrats said of the bill that “on balance the reductions to critical programs and poison pill riders make this a bill Democrats strongly oppose.” They added that it’s “the latest example of House Republicans following President Trump’s lead and turning their backs on hardworking American families.”
The Financial Services & General Government bill passed the committee on a 28-20 vote.
- House Appropriations Committee Press Release (Interior & Environment)
- House Appropriations Committee Press Release (Financial Services & General Gov’t)
- House Appropriations Summary (Interior & Environment)
- House Appropriations Summary (Financial Services & General Gov’t)
- CBO Cost Estimate
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: DurkTalsma / iStock)
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