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House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R.1625, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018

Floor Situation

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, the House will likely consider H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, under a closed rule. The bill was introduced on March 20, 2017, by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and passed the House on May 22, 2017 by voice vote. The bill then passed the Senate, with an amendment, by unanimous consent on February 28, 2018. The House Amendment consists of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.


Summary

The bill includes full Appropriations legislation and funding for 12 annual Appropriations bills, providing $1.3 trillion to fund discretionary programs within the federal government through September 30, 2018. The bill includes a $61.1 billion increase in military spending over 2017 levels. Base discretionary funding in the bill meets the caps in current law established by H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Summaries of the 12 Appropriations bill within the Omnibus:

Agriculture—The bill includes $23.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $2.1 billion above the FY17 enacted level, and $146 billion is both discretionary and mandatory spending, $7.6 billion below the FY17 enacted level. The legislation prioritizes funding for rural communities, farmers and ranchers, food and drug safety, and nutrition. Specifically, the bill includes: more than $4 billion for rural development and infrastructure including $685 million for expansion of broadband service; $3.03 billion for agricultural research; $1.06 billion for food safety and inspection programs; and $6.175 billion for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, $24.3 billion in mandatory funding for child nutrition programs, and $74 billion in mandatory funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is $4.5 billion below FY17. Click here for a detailed summary of the Agriculture provisions.

Commerce-Justice-Science—The bill contains $59.6 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $3 billion above FY17 enacted levels. The legislation prioritizes funding for national security and provides increases for federal law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration, violent crime, gangs, and opioid trafficking.  Specifically, the bill includes: $447 million for anti-opioid abuse for drug courts, treatment and prescription programs, and overdose reversal drugs; $75 million for school safety grants; $9 billion for FBI operations; $2.9 billion for various state and  local law enforcement assistance grant programs including Byrne Justice Assistance grants; $20.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; $11.1 billion for the Commerce Department, including $2.8 billion for the next census; and $7.8 billion for the National Science Foundation. Click here for a detailed summary of the Commerce-Justice-Science provisions.

Defense—The bill provides for a total of $654.6 billion for the Department of Defense, including $589.5 billion in discretionary spending and $65.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War of Terrorism funding. When combined with previously enacted FY18 funding legislation, the total funding provided for the Department if Defense is $659.6 billion; this is a $61.1 billion increase over FY17 enacted levels and is fully consistent with the recently enactment budget agreement and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. This is the largest increase in year-to-year-funding for the Department of Defense since the beginning of the War on Terror. Specifically, the bill: fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for the military and provides for 1,322,500 active-duty troops and 816,900 Guard and Reserve troops; includes $144.3 billion for equipment procurement including ships, aircraft, replacement parts and missile defense capabilities; and includes $34.4 billion for defense health and military family programs. Click here for a detailed summary of the Defense provisions.


Energy-Water—The bill totals $43.2 billion for Energy and Water provisions, a $5.4 billion increase over FY17 enacted levels. Funding is prioritized on national security efforts, including nuclear weapons activities, and increases in energy and water resources infrastructure investments and programs that encourage energy independence and economic competitiveness. Specifically, the bill includes: $14.7 billion for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons security programs; $248 million to strengthen the electric grid; $6.83 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers; $12.9 billion for energy programs to advance the nation’s “all-of-the-above” approach; and restrictions on the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches. Click here for a detailed summary of the Energy and Water provisions.

Financial Services and General Government—The legislation includes $23.4 billion for Financial Services and General Government Appropriations, a $2 billion increase over FY17 enacted levels. The bill targets this increase to programs that help boost economic growth and opportunity and provides funding to implement the recently enacted tax reform legislation. Specifically, the bill includes: $11.43 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (while continuing policy provisions that prevent waste and misuse of funds at the agency); $415.5 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy to fight the opioid epidemic; $380 million for state grants to improve election equipment and combat outside interference in U.S. elections; $7.1 billion for the federal courts; and provisions to maintain prohibitions on federal and local funds from being uses for abortions. Click here for a detailed summary of the Financial Services and General Government provisions.

Homeland Security—The bill targets funding for critical programs such as border security, immigration enforcement, aviation security, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and human and efforts to stop human and drug smuggling. The legislation includes $47.7 billion in funding, an increase of $5.3 billion from FY17 enacted levels.  Specifically, the bill: includes $1.571 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the Southwest border, amounting to more than 90 miles of “border wall system”, going beyond the Administration’s requires for 74 miles; contains $14 billion total for Customs and Border Protection including resources for new surveillance technology and 351 new officers; $7.1 billion for Immigration and Ice Enforcement including resources to hire 65 additional offices and 70 attorneys and support staff, and provide 40,520 detention beds (1,196 more than in FY17); provides $1.9 billion to combat cyber attacks; and $7.9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Click here for a detailed summary of the Homeland Security provisions.

Interior-Environment—The bill provides $35.2 billion, $3 billion above FY17 enacted levels, to protect the nation’s natural resources and prevent wildfires. Specifically, the bill: freezes base Environmental Protection Agency funding at FY17 levels, which reflect a 21 percent decrease since 2010; provides $1.3 billion to the Bureau of Land Management and $3.2 billion for the National Park Service; and provides $425 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill also fully funds the 10-year average for wildfire suppression costs within the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service, and implements policy and budgetary changes that will provide greater budget certainty, encourage more on-the-ground management, reduce litigation, and improve the health of our national forests. Click here for a detailed summary of the Interior and Environment provisions.

Labor-HHS-Education—The bill includes $177.1 billion in discretionary funding, an increase in $16 billion over FY17 enacted levels. The legislation targets investments in opioid abuse reductions, medical research, public health, biodefense, and activities to boost job growth. Specifically, the legislation includes: $1 billion in new funding for grants to states to address the opioid epidemic; $37 billion for the National Institutes of Health to fund critical research initiatives ($3 billion above FY17); $5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, which is $1.3 billion above FY17 enacted levels; $12.2 billion for the Department of Labor; and $70.9 billion for the Department of Education. Click here for a detailed summary of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education provisions.

Legislative Branch—The bill provides $3.7 billion for House and joint operations, $198 million above FY17 enacted levels. Specifically, the bill includes: an increase of $11 million for Members’ Representational Allowances to enhance security for Members, provide workplace harassment training, and expand the House child care center; funds the Capitol Police at $426.5 million; provides the Architect of the Capitol $712 million which includes $62 million for the continuation of the Cannon House Office Building restoration; and $579 million for the Government Accountability Office. Click here for a detailed summary of the Legislative Branch provisions.

Military Construction-VA—The bill provides $92 billion in funding, a $9.6 billion increase from FY17 enacted levels, and an additional $750 million in Overseas Contingency Operations. Specifically, the bill: increases funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $7.1 billion to increase access to services and care, oversight, and accountability; provides $10.1 billion for military construction projects (a 31 percent increase above FY17); provides $185.4 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and funds VA Medical Care at $68.8 billion (providing for approximately 7 million patients) to adopt a new VA Electronic Health Record that works seamlessly with the Department of Defense’s system, reduce the disability claims backlog, and conduct much needed construction within the VA system. Click here for a detailed summary of the Military Construction – Veterans Affairs provisions.

State-Foreign Operation—The legislation provides $54 billion in regular and Overseas Contingency Operations funding, $3.4 billion below FY17 enacted levels, to fund U.S. foreign policy priorities and bolster U.S. allies and key partners. Specifically, the bill: contains $16 billion for State Department Operations including $6 billion for embassy security; includes $9 billion in International Security Assistance for international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, peacekeeping operations, and security assistance; provides $1.6 billion for United States Agency for International Development Operations; includes $7.6 billion for humanitarian assistance; provides $3.1 billion for Israel as part of the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and $1.525 billion for Jordan; resources to counter Russian influence and aggression, and provides no funding for the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary determines that it is important to the national interest and the Council stops its anti-Israel agenda. Click here for a detailed summary of the State Foreign Operations provisions.

Transportation-HUD—The bill includes $70.3 billion in net discretionary spending, $12.65 billion above FY17 enacted levels, to make critical investments in transportation infrastructure and fund important community development and housing programs. Specifically, the bill includes: a $10.6 billion increase in infrastructure funding to rebuild the  nation’s aging infrastructure; provides $27.3 billion to the Department of Transportation for programs to improve air, highway, TIGER, rail, maritime, and road safety programs; and includes $42.7 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Click here for a detailed summary of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development provisions.

General Provisions

The Gateway Project— The bill provides $650 million to Amtrak for track improvements along its busy Northeast Corridor, an increase of $322 million from 2017, and direct $2.9 billion to discretionary grant programs, to which Amtrak and its partners could apply for funds to support the tunnel work in the Gateway Project with certain stipulations and pending approval. The Gateway Program is designed to increase rail infrastructure projects between Newark, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in New York City (“PSNY”), along the Northeast Corridor (“NEC”). The NEC is the most heavily used passenger rail line in the U.S., with more than 2,000 trains per day carrying approximately 800,000 daily riders across eight states and Washington D.C. The Gateway Program focuses on a 10-mile segment of the NEC, and includes a program of projects that would replace and update rail infrastructure assets and increase track, tunnel, bridge and station capacity. This includes the construction of a tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan. Some estimates have projected that the program will cost $12.7 billion.

IRS funding for implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—The bill provides the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with $11.4 billion for fiscal year 2018, an increase of $196 million over FY 2017. This includes $320 million for implementation of the new tax law.

“Grain Glitch” Fix—The bill includes a provision to cap agricultural producer’s business deduction at 20 percent of net income, excluding capital gains. The deduction would be reduced by the lesser of the following amounts: 9 percent of the farmer’s income from sales to the cooperative, or 50 percent of wages attributed to those sales. Farms structured as C corporations, like many publicly held companies, would not be eligible for the farmer-level deductions. Co-ops would be able to determine their deduction based on rules similar to the old tax law under the Domestic Production Activities Deduction. The provision is generally retroactive to the beginning of 2018. H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was enacted on December 22, 2017, allows a 20 percent deduction on business income, along with another 20 percent deduction on cooperatives' payments to members, including gross grain sales — which provided a tax advantage for farmers who sell certain agriculture products to businesses organized as cooperatives while excluding sales to privately owned companies.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit increase—The bill increases the aggregate low-income credit allowed under current law by 12.5 percent for calendar years 2018 through 2021. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credits are nonrefundable federal housing tax credits awarded to developers of qualified rental projects via a competitive application process administered by state housing finance authorities. Developers typically sell their tax credits to outside investors to raise money to build affordable housing. Some argue that those credits, many of which are purchased by businesses to lower their tax bills, became less attractive because of the reduction in corporate-tax. With lower financing costs, tax credit properties can potentially offer lower, more affordable rents. Two types of LIHTCs are available depending on the nature of the construction project. The bill increases the aggregate limits on these credits by 12.5 percent through calendar year 2021.

Fix NICS—The bill reauthorizes the NICS Improvement Act and increases records submissions assistance for states. The bill also includes provisions to require federal agencies to make annual reports and certification of compliant with the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS) and provides penalties for failing to comply. Similar language was included in H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House by a vote of 231-198 on December 6, 2017.  

Stop School Violence Act—The bill includes provisions similar to the Stop School Violence Act, which was passed by the by a vote of 407-10 on March 14, 2018. The provision reauthorizes and amends the Secure Our Schools program through the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, providing local law enforcement, school personnel and students with the tools they need to proactively prevent a threat. The legislation authorizes $75 million annually for a matching grant program for state and local schools to make evidence-based investments in school safety infrastructure, training, and technology.

Border Security—The bill includes $1.57 billion for physical barriers along the Southwest border—in line with the administration’s request—and provides funding for more than 95 miles of a border wall system, more than what the administration requested. It increases funding for border security and immigration enforcement, putting more “boots on the ground,” investing in technology and aseets needed to secure gaps in the border, and ensuring that detainees are referred to ICE instead of harbored by sanctuary cities.

Opioid Funding--The bill provides approximately $4 billion to address the opioid epidemic and represents the largest investment to date. To help fulfill the President’s Opioid Initiative the bill: improves law enforcement efforts by prioritizing funding at the Drug Enforcement Administration for anti-opioid and other illegal drug enforcement efforts and providing $447 million for Department of Justice grant programs and increasing funding for federal law enforcement programs; supports treatment and prevention by providing $1 billion in new funding for grants to states and Indian tribes to address the opioid epidemic; and provides resources to programs that help stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country. The bill also provides $130 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response program, $52 million for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants, and $386 million in VA medical care funding for opioid abuse.

Infrastructure--The bill provides for $21.2 billion in new funding for FY18 to rebuild and modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure. Specifically, the bill provides an additional: $3.5 billion to rebuild, improve, and modernize America’s highways; $1 billion for new discretionary airport grants; $1 billion for TIGER grants to fund critical transportation projects identified for state and local communities; $3.1 billion for rail infrastructure; $1.4 billion for water infrastructure to ensure clean and reliable drinking water and undertake new infrastructure projects in our ports, waterways, flood control efforts, and water supply; $625 million for rural broadband; $1.1 billion for CJS facilities across the country, economic development grants, and a broadband map; $398 million for cutting edge National Laboratories; $1.2 billion for Financial Services infrastructure, including new GSA construction projects and federal IT modernization; $500 million for cyber infrastructure and FEMA public assistance grants; $1.9 billion for EPA water infrastructure projects, Superfund cleanup, and deferred maintenance in infrastructure with the Interior bill; $700 million in CDC buildings and Social Security IT modernization; $2.8 billion in infrastructure for VA medical facilities, which is currently facing a backlog; and $1.9 billion in community development.

Census Funding—The bill includes $1.34 billion in increased funding for the U.S. Census Bureau to help prepare for the 2020 census.

Pro-Life provisions—The bill continues all existing pro-life riders including the Hyde, Weldon, and  and Helms Amendments and prevents efforts to roll back the administration’s expanded Mexico City policy. The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. The Weldon Amendment provides conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and others who do not wish to participate in abortions. The Helms Amendment prohibits foreign assistance funds from being used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions. The Mexico City Policy was first announced in 1984 by the Reagan administration and requires foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to certify that they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning,” using funds from any source (including non-U.S. funds), as a condition for receiving U.S. government global family planning assistance. The policy has been rescinded and reinstated by subsequent administrations along party lines. It has been in effect for approximately 17 of the past 32 years. On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy via presidential memorandum. The bill blocks attempts by the Democrats that would have tied the hands of the Trump Administration and forced them to continue funding for Planned Parenthood entities and other controversial family planning grantees. The bill also freezes funding for family planning programs, targeting funding to sexual risk avoidance programs.

Israel support—The bill provides $3.1 billion for the US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding including over $700 million for Israeli Missile Defense and anti-tunneling.

Brownfields Law – The bill includes similar text to H.R. 3017, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, which passed the House by a vote of 409-8 on November 30, 2017. The provision reauthorizes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program and makes several improvements to existing law. A brownfield is defined as “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” The EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. Traditionally, brownfields are abandoned, closed, or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities that show evidence of contamination and according to regulation require remediation. Development of such sites is expensive and time-consuming and can be difficult to secure financing for due to liability.

CLOUD Act – The bill  would clarify the legal authority of the United States to obtain data stored electronically in another country, and would authorize special agreements to resolve potential conflicts of law. The bill would authorize the attorney general to enter into such agreements, but only with allies that respect privacy and protect civil liberties, and that have records of promoting and defending due process. Timely access to electronic data held by communications-service providers is an essential component of government efforts to protect public safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism. Such efforts by the United States Government are being impeded by the inability to access data stored outside the United States that is in the custody, control, or possession of communications-service providers that are subject to jurisdiction of the United States.

EB-5 Visa Program Extension– The bill extends the authorization for the EB-5 visa program. The program was created in 1990 to benefit the U.S. economy through employment creation and an influx of foreign capital into the United States. The EB-5 visa provides lawful permanent residence (i.e., LPR status) to foreign nationals who invest a specified amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States and create at least 10 jobs. The foreign nationals must invest $1,000,000, or $500,000 if they invest in a rural area or an area with high unemployment (referred to as targeted employment areas or TEAs).

H-2B Visa Cap—The bill gives the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security the authority to increase the amount of H-2B visas issued in FY 2018 by no more than approximately 70,000 visas, which is similar to language included in H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.  H-2B visas permit certain nonagricultural employers to hire foreign workers for temporary and seasonal work. The H-2B visa program is designed to protect American workers by placing rigid requirements on employers seeking to hire H-2B workers. Employers must prove they cannot find U.S. workers to fill the positions and that they will pay a wage that will not undercut American worker’s pay before they are able to receive an H-2B visa. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received an unprecedented number of petitions requesting H-2B visas in 2018. In response, USCIS instituted a “lottery system” to randomly select petitions up to the statutory cap.

FAA Extension—The bill authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 30, 2018. In July 2016, Congress reauthorized these programs through September 2017, and it passed a subsequent extension through March 2018.

NFIP Extension—The bill authorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through July 31, 2018. The NFIP offers primary flood insurance to properties with significant flood risk and reduces flood risk through the adoption of floodplain management standards. Authorization of the NFIP was extended from September 30, 2017, until December 8, 2017, extended again until December 22, 2017 (P.L. 115-90), and again until January 19, 2018. The NFIP lapsed between January 20 and January 22, 2018, and received a fourth short-term reauthorization until February 8, 2018. This legislation also authorized FEMA to honor all policy-related transactions accepted during the NFIP lapse. The NFIP lapsed again for approximately eight hours during a brief government shut-down in the early morning of February 9, 2018, and was then reauthorized until March 23, 2018.

Generalized System of Preferences – The bill extends authorization for the generalized system of preferences through December 31, 2020 and makes the program reactive to the beginning of calendar year 2018. The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program provides nonreciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated beneficiary developing countries (BDCs). The United States, the European Union, and other developed countries have implemented similar programs since the 1970s. Congress first authorized the U.S. program in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, and most recently extended it until December 31, 2017, in Title II of P.L. 114-27, which passed the House by a vote of 286-138 on June 25th, 2015.

RAY BAUM – The bill reauthorizes the Federal Communications Commission for the first time in 28 years and establishes a number of reforms aimed at improving agency efficiency and transparency. The bill authorizes funding for broadcasters impacted by the Commission’s broadcaster repacking process and includes a section entitled “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act”, or the “MOBILE NOW” Act. The bill authorizes $333 million for FY 18 and $339 million for FY 19. The House passed the RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 by voice vote on March 6, 2018. For more details about the House-passed bill, please click here.

Spectrum Repacking – The bill fulfills commitments to relocate broadcasters and ensures a successful repack process and the timely availability of new spectrum. On March 29, 2016, the FCC commenced the first-ever “incentive auction” designed to repurpose spectrum for new uses. Authorized by Congress in 2012, the auction used market forces to align the use of broadcast airwaves with 21st century consumer demands for video and broadband services. Bidding in the auction closed on March 30, 2017, repurposing 84 megahertz of spectrum – 70 megahertz for licensed use and another 14 megahertz for wireless microphones and unlicensed use. On April 13, 2017 the Commission released a public notice formally closing the auction and beginning the 39-month period during which time some TV stations will need to transition to new channel assignments.

Secure Rural Schools – The bill reauthorizes the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Counties containing federal lands often receive payments from the federal government based on the presence of such lands. Starting in the 1990s, federal timber sales began to decline substantially—by more than 90% in some areas—which led to substantially reduced payments to the counties. Thus, Congress enacted the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) as a temporary, optional program of payments. SRS provided payments to counties based on historic rather than current revenues from land use activities, thus minimizing the effect of reduced revenue streams on those counties. In 2014, the 114th Congress enacted a two-year extension through FY2015. SRS payments are disbursed after the fiscal year ends, so the FY2015 SRS payment—the last authorized payment—was made in FY2016.

Taylor Force Act – would withhold nearly all economic aid to the West Bank and Gaza that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority (PA), unless the Secretary of State certifies that the PA takes credible steps to stop acts of violence and end payments for acts of terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has a perverse practice, enshrined in law, of making payments to terrorists in Israeli prisons who commit acts of violence against Israelis and Americans. If the terrorist dies while perpetrating their act of violence, payments are made to their family. The House passed similar legislation on December 5, 2017 by voice vote.

Pell Grant increase—The bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $175 to $6,095. Pell Grants are need-based aid that is intended to be the foundation for all federal student aid awarded to undergraduates. Eligibility may be based on a combination of familial circumstance, income, and assets. Pell Grants are the single largest source of federal grant aid supporting postsecondary education students.


Background

The House Committee on Appropriations approved each of the twelve fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills.  The House subsequently passed all 12 bills before the end of FY 2017. Several continuing resolutions have been passed since the end of FY 2017 to provide funding for government operations.


Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.


Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.

115th Congress