HUGE APPROPRIATIONS BILL: EXTRA $65.2 BILLION TO GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR; MORE $$$ FOR FOSSIL FUELS; NONE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACCORD
The House and Senate have both passed a $1.3 trillion bill to fund the Federal government for 2018.
If this seems a little late, well, it is — and this budget will only last through to September.
For months we have been covering this process.
The bill would increase defense spending by $80 billion and domestic discretionary spending by $63 billion over the prior year. Of the total, $78.1 billion would go to spending on the Global War on Terror (GWOT) / Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
As an omnibus appropriations bill, this bill contains the 12 individual appropriations bills rolled into one. Summaries of each section are below.
Dept. of Defense
This legislation would provide $654.6 billion for the DOD, bringing the fiscal year 2018 total to $659.5 billion — up $61.1 billion over the prior year — when this new funding is combined with previously approved funding. Of this total, $589.5 billion would be discretionary funding, while $65.2 billion in funding would be provided for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) / Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
The OCO/GWOT funding would provide resources needed for preparation and operations to fight ongoing threats, including personnel requirements; operational needs; replacing aircraft losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets; and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It would also provide critical support, claims the bill, to allies such as Israel, Ukraine, and Jordan.
Military pay would total $137.7 billion under this bill, $4.3 billion of which is for OCO/GWOT requirements, with the rest going to base pay. That amount would support 1,322,500 active-duty troops and 816,900 Guard and Reserve troops. A 2.4 percent pay raise for the military would be fully funded.
Operation and maintenance funding would total $238 billion, of which $50 billion is for OCO/GWOT requirements. Base funding would be $20.4 billion above fiscal year 2017, with the increase aimed at filling readiness shortfalls to provide troops with training and equipment.
Research and development funding would total $89.2 billion, with $0.9 billion going to OCO/GWOT requirements. Base funding would be $16 billion more than fiscal year 2017. That funding would support research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, space security programs, the new Air Force bomber program, the Ohio-class submarine replacement, Future Vertical Lift, the Israeli Cooperative Programs, and other research and development, such as that done by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Equipment procurement and upgrades would total $144.3 billion — up $25.4 billion from the prior year — of which $16.5 billion would go to OCO/GWOT requirements. Base requirements would be $24.1 billion above fiscal year 2017. Some of the highlights include:
$23.8 billion for 14 Navy ships, including one carrier replacement, two guided missile destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, and three littoral combat ships.
$10.2 billion would go to providing 90 F-35 aircraft; $1.8 billion for 24 F-18 Super Hornet aircraft; $1.1 billion for 56 Black Hawk helicopters.
$9.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency; $1.1 billion for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks, $483 million for upgrades of 145 Bradley fighting vehicles, and $332 million for the Israeli Cooperative Programs.
Defense health and military family programs funding would total $34.4 billion, up $764 million from the budget request, for the Defense Health Program to provide care for troops, military families, and retirees. Of the total, $359 million would go to cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $287 million for sexual assault prevention and response.
Some of the savings that would be gained under this bill are $3.5 billion from rescinding unused prior-year funding, and $115 million due to favorable economic conditions and lower-than-expected fuel costs.
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education
This section would provide $177.1 billion in funding for the Depts. of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other related agencies — up $16 billion from the prior year.
The Dept. of Labor would receive a total of $12.2 billion in funding for fiscal year 2018, an increase of $129 million from the previous year. Most of this funding goes to job training programs, including $10 billion for the Employment Training Administration, $1.7 billion for Job Corps, and $295 million for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.
The Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) would receive a total of $78 billion, an increase of $10 billion from the prior year. Notable programs getting funding under this section:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a total of $37 billion, up $3 billion from the prior year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would receive $8.3 billion, up $1.1 billion from the year prior.
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) would receive $5 billion, up $1.3 billion from the previous year. A ban on the use of Federal funds to purchase syringes or sterile needles would continue, but communities can use Federal funds for substance-use counseling and treatment referrals.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would receive $4 billion, which is the same as the prior year and sufficient to maintain all core operations and services.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) would receive $28 billion, up $4 billion from the prior year. This includes $9.9 billion for Head Start and $5.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
The Dept. of Education would receive $70.9 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion from the prior year. Notable programs getting funding under this section include:
IDEA special education grants to states would total $12.3 billion, an increase of $275 million from the prior year.
Pell grant awards would be increased from their current maximum award of $6,095.
Funding for charter schools would increase by $58 million to $400 million.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would receive advance funding of $465 million for fiscal year 2020, the same level of advance funding provided in fiscal year 2017.
Military Construction & Veterans Affairs
A total of $92 billion in discretionary funding would be authorized by this section of the bill — $9.6 billion more than what was authorized for fiscal year 2017 — of which $750 million would go to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounts for base construction.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) would receive $182.3 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $7.1 billion from fiscal year 2017. Discretionary funding makes up $78.3 billion of that total, up $3.9 billion from fiscal year 2017. Mandatory funding provides veterans’ disability compensation for 4.5 million veterans and their survivors, education benefits for one million veterans, and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 145,000 veterans.
VA medical care would total $68.8 billion to treat an estimated seven million patients in fiscal year 2018. Of that, funding would be broken down as follows:
$8.4 billion in mental healthcare services, $186 million for suicide prevention, $316 million for traumatic brain injury treatment.
$7.3 billion in homeless veterans treatment, services, housing, and job training; $751 million for hepatitis C treatment; $50 million for opioid abuse prevention.
$270 million for rural health initiatives.
To speed up the process of reducing the VA’s disability claims backlog (about 312,000 veterans), $54 million in funding above the President’s budget request would be provided to be used on the scanning of health records and overtime pay. The bill would also continue existing reporting requirements that track each regional office’s performance on claims processing and appeals backlogs.
The VA’s electronic health record system would be modernized using $782 million set aside by this bill to use an identical electronic record system as the DOD. Major and minor construction at VA facilities would be funded at $855 million, which includes money for the construction of new facilities and the expansion of cemeteries that are reaching capacity before 2022.
Advance appropriations for fiscal year 2019 would also be provided by this bill, including $71 billion for veterans’ medical programs and $108 billion for mandatory benefit programs.
Military construction projects would receive $10.1 billion in funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above fiscal year 2017, with $750 million in OCO funding for projects in countries with ongoing U.S. operations. This would fund operational facilities, training facilities, hospitals, family housing, National Guard readiness centers, and barracks, among other resources. A total of 203 military constructions projects in the U.S. and overseas would be funded.
Some of the highlights of the military construction funding include:
Military Family Housing: $1.4 billion to build, operate, and maintain military family housing, an increase of $133 million above fiscal year 2017, which currently serves a total of 1,388,028 military families.
Military Medical Facilities: $708 million for construction and alterations at new or existing military medical facilities, up $404 million from fiscal year 2017. There are 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries of the care provided at these facilities.
DOD Education Facilities: $250 million for safety improvements and infrastructure work at four DOD Education Activities facilities in the U.S. and overseas.
Guard and Reserve: $645 million for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in 26 states and territories.
NATO Security Investment Program: $178 million, the same amount as fiscal year 2017, for infrastructure needed for wartime, crisis, peace support and deterrence operations, and training requirements. The funding would assist NATO’s response to challenges from Russia and threats coming from the Middle East and North Africa.
Guantanamo Bay: $115 million would go to building two new barracks to house service members stationed at Guantanamo Bay. The bill would also prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and prohibit funding for any facility in the U.S. to house detainees.
Transportation, Housing & Urban Development
This section would provide $70.3 billion in appropriations for the Dept. of Transportation (DOT), the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies — an increase of $12.65 billion from fiscal year 2017.
The DOT would receive $27.3 billion in funding, up $8.7 billion from the prior year. Of the total, $45 billion would come from the Highway Trust Fund to finance improvements to the highway system. Another $18 billion would go to the Federal Aviation Administration to fund air traffic control and the FAA’s NextGen air transportation systems. The Federal Transit Administration would receive $13.5 billion in funding, while investments in rail infrastructure would total $3.1 billion, including $1.9 billion for Amtrak. The multimodal TIGER program, which provides grants for a variety of infrastructure projects, would total $1.5 billion.
HUD would receive $42.7 billion in appropriations, up $3.9 billion from the prior year. Included is $30.3 billion for Public and Native Housing, while other housing programs would receive $12.5 billion in funding of which $11.5 billion would go to Project-Based Rental Assistance.
Commerce, Justice, Science
This section would authorize $59.6 billion for the Depts. of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other agencies — an increase of $3 billion from the year prior.
The Dept. of Justice (DOJ) would receive $29.9 billion, an increase of $263 million from the previous year. Of that total, $9 billion would go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), $2.6 billion would go to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and $1.3 billion would go to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The DEA would prioritize anti-opioid and illegal drug enforcement efforts.
A total of $447 million would be provided for grant programs to stem opioid abuse, which includes funding drug courts, treatment, prescription drug monitoring, heroin enforcement task forces, overdose reversal drugs, and at-risk youth programs.
Funding for multiple programs to reduce violent crime would be increased. This includes full funding for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), increases for U.S. Attorneys and the Marshals’ Service to address violent crime, $75 million in grants to states to improve their records used in background checks, $75 million for School Safety programs, $20 million to reduce gang and gun violence, $94 million for youth mentoring programs, $4 million for youth gang prevention, and $10 million for police active shooter training. The bill also includes the Fix NICS Act, which incentivizes states and federal agencies to improve the reporting of criminal records to the NICS database.
NASA would receive $20.7 billion for fiscal year 2018, up $1,1 billion from the previous year. Of the total, $4.8 billion would go to exploration activities such as the development of the Orion crew vehicle and Space Launch System, and $6.2 billion would go to science programs for planetary science and astrophysics.
The Dept. of Commerce would receive $11.1 billion in funding, an increase of $1.9 billion from the prior year. Of the total $5.9 billion would go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) which is an increase of $234 million, and $3.5 billion would go to the Patent and Trademark Office, an amount which is based on fees it collects.
Other notable provisions include:
A prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees in the U.S. would continue.
Various existing provisions related to firearms such as a ban on the implementation of the UN Arms Treaty would continue,as well as a ban on importing shotguns, and on exporting guns to Canada.
The DOJ would be prohibited from requiring settlement money to be donated to a third party activist group.
NASA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy would be prohibited from engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized or certified through a process outlined by the bill.
State & Foreign Operations
This section would authorize a total of $54 billion of discretionary and Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) funding, a decrease of $3.4 billion from the prior year. OCO funding totals $12 billion and is aimed at supporting operations and assistance in conflict zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The State Dept. would receive $16 billion in base and OCO funding, a decrease of $1.8 billion from the previous year. Of this total, $6 billion would go to embassy security, an amount which will provide security at diplomatic facilities and implement recommendations from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board report.
International security assistance would total $9 billion in base and OCO funding, a decrease of $624 million from the prior year. Those funds go to international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, and peacekeeping operations. Antiterrorism programs that work to fight ISIS and other groups would be funded at $345 million. Security assistance to Israel would total $3.1 billion, while additional support through the Foreign Military Financing programs would go to Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia at or above current levels.
Bilateral economic assistance would total $16.8 billion, a decrease of $900 million from the prior year. Programs that support development assistance, global health, and humanitarian assistance would be prioritized and $6 billion of the total would go to fighting HIV/AIDS around the globe.
Multilateral assistance would total $1.9 billion to foreign countries and international organizations, a decrease of $254 million below the prior year. No funding would go to the Green Climate Fund; international debt relief; the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), or the UN Population Fund.
Other notable provisions of this section include:
Requiring a notification to Congress if the State Dept. commits to providing assistance to foreign governments that accept Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Funding to the Countering Russian influence Fund would be increased by $150 million to $250 million, which includes support to Ukraine and Georgia.
No funding would go to the UN Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State certifies that it would be in the national security interest and the Council stops its anti-Israel agenda and increases transparency in the elections of its members. No funds would go to UN organizations headed by countries that support terrorism, or to the UN capital master plan in New York.
Funding to implement the UN Arms Trade Treaty would be prohibited.
Financing would be allowed for coal-fired and other power generation projects by U.S. companies overseas.
The Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions, would be expanded to all global health programs. Similar provisions which ensure family planning programs are voluntary, ban foreign aid from being spent on abortions, and prohibit funds to groups that support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization would be continued.
This section would provide $47.7 billion in funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) for fiscal year 2018, an increase of $5.3 billion from the prior year, and $7.4 billion for disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Within DHS, Customs and Border Protection would receive $14 billion in funding, up $1.8 billion from the previous year. That includes $1.6 billion for the construction of a physical barrier along the Southern border, $7 million to hire 351 new law enforcement officers, $170 million for new border technology, and $190 million for new aircraft and sensors.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would receive $7.1 billion, up $640.6 million from the prior year. That total includes $4.1 billion for detention and removal programs and operations, $2.2 billion for investigation programs combating human trafficking, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling, and an additional $15.6 million to hire 65 additional law enforcement officers and 70 support staff.
The Coast Guard would receive $12.1 billion for fiscal year 2018, up $1.7 billion from the previous year. Coast Guard personnel would receive a 2.4 percent pay increase along with the rest of the military. Of the total, $7.4 billion for operations and training and $2.7 billion for vessels, aircraft, and facilities.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would receive $7.9 billion, up $114.6 million from the prior year. It includes full funding for Transportation Security Officers, privatized screening operations, and passenger & baggage screening equipment to speed processing and wait times for travelers. The total includes $151.8 million to hire, train, and deploy 1,047 canine teams to further expedite processing times.
FEMA’s disaster relief account would be funded at $7.9 billion to respond to natural and manmade disasters. FEMA would also have $3 billion in funding for various grant programs, including $700 million in firefighter assistance grants, $630 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, and $507 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
The Secret Service would receive $1.9 billion, $53 million less than the previous year due to the completion of the 2016 campaign cycle.
Energy & Water Development
This bill would provide $43.2 billion for the Dept. of Energy (DOE), Army Corps of Engineers, and national defense nuclear weapons activities — a $1.7 billion increase from the previous year.
Funding for nuclear security would total $14.7 billion — up $1.7 billion over last year — of which $10.6 billion would go to maintaining the military’s nuclear deterrent, $1.6 billion for naval nuclear reactors, and $2 billion for nuclear nonproliferation. Included in the nonproliferation funding would be $340 million to build a facility for disposing of surplus plutonium.
The Army Corps of Engineers would receive $6.83 billion for fiscal year 2018, up $789 million from the prior year. Of the total, $3 billion would go to navigation projects and studies, while $1.9 billion would fund flood and storm damage reduction activities.
Energy programs within the DOE would receive $12.9 billion in funding, an increase of $1.6 billion from the prior year. Research and development related to coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil fuels would be funded with $72 million, up $59 million from the prior year. Nuclear energy research would receive $1.2 billion, up $188 million from fiscal year 2017.
Other provisions that would be funded under this section include:
Science research would receive $6.3 billion in funding, up $868 million from fiscal year 2017, which would be focused on next generation energy sources and high-performance computing systems.
The Bureau of Reclamation would receive $1.48 billion for managing, developing, and protecting water resources in western states.
Other policy items that would be enacted under this section include:
The Clean Water Act’s application would be restricted in certain agricultural areas, such as farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
New nuclear nonproliferation projects in Russia would be prohibited without notifications from the Secretary of Energy.
Interior & Environment
This section would provide $35.2 billion in funding for the Dept. of the Interior (DOI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and other related agencies — $3 billion above the fiscal year 2017 funding level. The EPA’s budget would be $8.1 billion, equal to the 2017 level.
The Forest Service would receive a total of $6 billion, of which $2.8 billion would be targeted toward wildland fire prevention and suppression. It and the Bureau of Land Management would be prohibited from issuing new closures of public lands to hunting and recreational shooting, except in case of public safety.
Additional funding would go to the following entities and purposes:
Wildland firefighting and prevention would receive $3.8 billion, which fully funds the 10-year average for annual costs to the DOI and Forest Service. That total is $50 million above fiscal year 2017.
The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Education would receive $3.1 billion, up $204 million from the prior year, while the Indian Health Service budget would increase by $498 million from 2017 to $5.5 billion.
The National Park Service would receive $3.2 billion, a decrease of $64 million from the prior year. Within the funds targeted for operations and maintenance $55 million would go to reducing the deferred maintenance backlog.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would receive $1.6 billion, an increase of $75 million from the prior year. A one-year delay on further Endangered Species Act status reviews, determinations, and rulemakings for greater sage grouse would be continued.
The Bureau of Land Management would receive $1.3 billion, an increase of $80 million from the previous year. Of that total, $60 million would go to on-the-ground greater sage grouse conservation and to preserve Federal lands for public and private uses, such as energy development, ranching, recreation, and military training.
The Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that provides funds to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties would receive $530 million.
Funding for the Smithsonian Institution would increase by $178 million to a total of $1 billion to allow for the continuation of current operations and programs. Funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities would total $153 million for each endowment, an increase of $3 million for each from the prior year.
This section would authorize $23.4 billion in appropriations for the Treasury Dept. the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other related agencies — an increase of $2 billion from the year prior and $2.48 billion.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would receive $11.4 billion, an increase of $195.6 million from the previous year. It would be prohibited from using funds to target tax-exempt groups for scrutiny because of their ideological beliefs, or individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights, or for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences. The IRS would be prevented from enforcing the individual mandate to buy health insurance, and funds would be prohibited from being used to pay for an abortion or connected administrative expenses in connection with a multi-state qualified health plan.
Federal courts would receive $7.1 billion, up $183 million from 2017, which would cover all Federal court activities, the supervision of offenders and defendants living in society, court security, and the processing of Federal cases.
The District of Columbia would receive a $721 million payment from the Federal government, a decrease of $34.9 million from the previous year. This funding would provide for public safety and security costs and other essential services, and includes $45 million for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR), which provides scholarships to low-income DC students so they can attend private schools. Additionally, Federal and local funds would be prohibited from being used for abortion, while funding further legalization of marijuana in DC and the use of federal funds for needle exchanges would remain prohibited.
This section of the bill would provide $23.3 billion in discretionary funding for agricultural and food programs, food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development, and nutrition programs — an increase of $2.1 billion from fiscal year 2017. It would also authorize $1.06 billion in mandatory funding for food security and safety programs.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) would receive $74 billion in mandatory funding, which is $4.5 billion less than last year due to declining enrollment and decreases in food costs. Child nutrition programs would receive $24.3 billion in mandatory funding, an increase of $1.5 billion from the prior year. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program would receive $6.17 billion in discretionary funding, $175 million less than fiscal year 2017.
Other notable agencies and programs receiving funding include:
Architect of the Capitol: $577.8 million would be provided, an increase of $48.4 million from the year prior to fund health and safety improvement projects to protect members, staff, and visitors.
Library of Congress: $648 million would be provided, an increase of $16 million from the prior year that would fund information technology modernization within the Library, the Copyright Office, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The public would have access to all non-confidential CRS reports.
Government Accountability office (GAO): $568 million would be provided, $450 thousand above the prior year, to continue the GAO’s work of providing Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent
This bill was originally known as the TARGET Act, which aimed to prevent human trafficking, before it was amended to serve as the legislative vehicle for the 2,232 page omnibus appropriations bill.