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FY 2018 Omnibus
FY 2018 Continuing Resolutions
Understanding the Parity Issue and Spending Caps
UPDATED: Spending Caps Increased in 2013, 2015, and 2018
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The 12 Appropriations Bills
FY 2017 Appropriations
General Reports on Appropriations
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                 FY 2018 APPROPRIATIONS

Link to Status Chart for FY 2018 Appropriations

Congress Passes, President Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill Averting Government Shutdown

Highlights of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill:

  • The $1.3 trillion FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act provides:
    • $629 billion in base defense funding and $66 billion for the “off-budget” Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for a total of nearly $700 billion; and
    • $579 billion in base nondefense funding and $12 billion for “off-budget” OCO for a total of nearly $600 billion.
  • These levels reflect the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act that raised the FY’18 budget caps on discretionary spending:
    • for defense by $80 billion (15%); and
    • non-defense by $63 billion (12%).
  • Defense:  The bill provides the biggest year-over-year increase in defense funding in 15 years.  Combined with FY2018 funding previously approved by Congress for missile defense and disaster response, the Defense Department will receive more than $61 billion over the 2017 enacted level.
    • Funds a 2.4 percent pay increase for troops.
    • $133.4 billion for Military Personnel, which is $4.6 billion more than the FY2017 enacted level.
    • Increases end strength by 8500 active and 1000 Guard/Reserve.
    • $190.5 billion for Operations and Maintenance, which is $22.9 billion more than the FY2017 enacted level.
    • $133.9 billion for Procurement, which is $ 25.4 billion more than the FY2017 enacted level.
    • $88.3 billion for Research and Development, which is $16 billion more than the FY2017 enacted level.
    • $4.8 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative, which is equal to the request.
    • $34.4 billion for Defense Health requirements – $764 million above the budget request, including $1.1 billion for congressionally directed medical research programs.
    • $705.8 million for the Israeli Missile Defense Cooperative program, which is $105 million more than the 2017 enacted level.
    • $35 million for continued implementation and expansion of the Sexual Assault Special Victim’s Counsel Program.
    • $200 million in OCO for Ukraine, which is $50 million more than the 2017 enacted level.
    • Prohibits the use of funds in Syria and Iraq in contravention of the War Powers Resolution.
    • Does not include the Lee amendment requiring new Authorization for Use of Military Force, which passed the House Appropriations Committee.
    • Prohibits funding to transfer or release Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S.
  • Overall Non-defense discretionary funding:
    • The bill includes $600 billion in non-defense spending, including $12 billion in OCO.
    • President Trump’s FY2018 budget request proposed cutting $54 billion from the existing statutory cap;
    • the House Appropriations bills proposed cutting $5 billion;
    • enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 increased NDD by $63 billion. 
  • Early Childhood:  $610 million increase for Head Start and a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program (for a total of $5.22 billion), putting CCDBG at its highest discretionary funding level.
  • Education:  $700 million increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, a $300 million increase for Title I Grants to Schools and a $275 million increase for Special Education Part B State Grants (IDEA). It also provides funding to raise the maximum Pell Grant award by $175 and creates a $350 million discretionary relief fund for borrowers to receive public service loan forgiveness.
  • Opioids:  $3 billion increase for programs to respond to the opioid crisis, including a $2.7 billion increase for prevention, treatment, surveillance, research to develop non-opioid pain medication, behavioral workforce training, and support for children and families. Also includes $114 million for FDA activities and a $300 million increase for the Department of Justice for activities such as heroin enforcement task forces, drug courts, prescription drug monitoring, treatment, and overdose reversal medication.
  • Research: $3 billion increase for National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research. It provides a $231 billion increase for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, $868 million increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science, and a $47 million increase for Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E). The Omnibus also includes a $295 million increase for the National Science Foundation, a $234 million increase for NOAA, and a $1.08 billion increase for NASA.
  • Election Integrity:  $380 million in new money for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to distribute to states as grants to protect election systems from cyber threats.
  • Census:  $1.3 billion increase for the Census Bureau, which is critical to ensure an accurate count leading into the decennial Census and subsequent reapportionment.
  • Public Safety and Law Enforcement: 3 to 5 percent boosts for law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration;  $375 million increase for State and Local Law Enforcement Activities, including a $54 million increase for the COPS office; a $40 million increase for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, a $25 million increase for the Urban Area Security Initiative, a $149 million increase for Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants, and an $85 million increase for Flood Mapping.
  • CDC:  $806 million increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Local Infrastructure: $21 billion to rebuild and improve infrastructure, including: $2.525 billion in new funding for highway formula grants; $1 billion increase for the National Infrastructure Investment (TIGER) grants program which fund innovative road, transit, maritime and road projects; $232 million increase for subway, light rail, and commuter rail transit systems; $446.6 million increase for Amtrak; $305 million increase for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); $789 million increase for Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects, including funding for new starts; $1.8 billion increase for rural water and wastewater treatment; and a $600 million increase for rural broadband.
  • Environment: $763 million increase for the Environmental Protection Agency, avoiding steep cuts initially proposed by Trump. This includes increases of $300 million each for Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Funds; $63 million for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act grants; and $50 million for three new grants programs to address lead in drinking water, including $20 million for a Voluntary School Lead Testing grant program. It also includes a $270 million increase for the National Park Service and $25 million increase for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and reauthorizes the EPA Brownfields program.
  • Housing: $808 million increase for the Public Housing Capital Fund, which will cut down the backlog of unmet renovation needs. It also includes a $250 million increase for HOME Investment Partnerships, $176 million increase for Housing for the Elderly, $85 million increase for Housing for the Disabled, and $90 million increase for Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes; and expands the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit which will increase 12.5% for the next four years.
  • Veterans: The Omnibus provides a $7 billion increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs, with significant increases for medical services, mental health services, medical and prosthetic research, and opioid abuse services. This amount also includes $2 billion for infrastructure improvements at VA facilities and state veterans’ homes.
  • Border Fence:  President Trump gets a nearly $1.6 billion down payment on a border “fence” providing only 33 miles of new barriers, but did not get money for additional ICE agents and detention beds and did not get provisions to cut off funding to sanctuary cities.
  • NY-NJ Gateway:  Trump successfully cut the $900 million set-aside for the “Gateway project” — new commuter rail and transit lines between New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River — although Gateway projects (the Portal North Bridge replacement project and Hudson River Tunnel project) apparently would still qualify for transportation grant funds.
  • Gun Background Checks – Fix NICS:  Includes the so-called “FIX NICS” bill (S 2135) that would require federal agencies and incentivize states to enter data into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  • Fixes the “grain glitch” — a provision in last year’s tax law that would allow farmers bigger deductions for sales to agricultural cooperatives than to private grain dealers.
  • NASA gets a boost:  NASA would receive $4.79 billion in total for space exploration efforts, a $466 million increase over 2017 funding levels, including $1.35 billion for the Orion Spacecraft for travel to the Moon and Mars.
  • Airport and Airway Taxes:  Omnibus does include a short extension of airport and airway taxes through the end of this fiscal year (9/30/18).
  • Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2018:  JCT explanation of corrections to last year’s tax bill.
  • Immigration:  No extension of DACA, but does reauthorize foreign investor visas (EB-5 program) and the E-Verify program, increases temporary worker visas (H-2B), and reauthorizes two other immigration visa programs: one for foreign doctors working at rural hospitals and another for immigrant religious workers.
  • CRS Reports to be made public:  The Legislative Branch title directs the Congressional Research Service to publish all non-confidential reports on a public website operated by the Library of Congress.
  • Kevin and Avonte’s Law: Includes legislation helping to protect children with developmental disabilities, and seniors with Alzheimer’s, who are prone to wandering.
  • A slew of reauthorizations and legislative provisions are summarized in this list:  Summary of Legislative FY18 Omnibus Additions

Provisions Not Included:  

  • No Protection for Mueller Investigation: did not include language sought by Democrats that would safeguard Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
  • No Planned Parenthood Ban:  GOP members did not get provisions to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.
  • No DACA Extension: Democrats did not get DACA protections for the nearly 700,000 young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children, however the March 5th DACA expiration was rendered temporarily moot when Federal District Court injunctions (left in place by the Supreme Court) required the Administration to continue processing DACA renewals.
  • No Rollback of “Mexico City” Abortion Policy:  Democrats were unable to roll back the Trump Administration expansion of the Reagan Administration’s so-called “Mexico City” policy requiring foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving U.S. aid to certify that they would not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning—even if the activities were undertaken with non-U.S. funds
  • No Health Insurance Stabilization: No funds to stabilize health insurance markets through cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and a reinsurance program promised to Sen. Susan Collins in exchange for her vote on last year’s tax bill.  Disagreement over the inclusion of Hyde Amendment abortion funding restrictions is reportedly prevented agreement on the stabilization package as well as House GOP opposition to any measures that stabilize or strengthen Obamacare insurance coverage.
    • On Monday, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ryan Costello (R-PA) released a package that would have: restored funds for CSRs for three years; provided funding for reinsurance to cover high-cost patients; provided flexibility for states seeking federal waivers; required HHS to issue regulations allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines; and required insurance companies selling short-term insurance plans to prominently disclose that the plans would not meet minimum requirements under the 2010 health law.  CBPP analysis
  • No Rollback of Johnson Amendment that limits political activities of churches and charities.
  • No Internet Taxes:  does not include a measure to require online vendors to collect sales taxes for states in which they don’t have a physical presence.  Background: Internet Sales and State Taxes

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FY 2018 Continuing Resolutions:

What is a CR?  Congress’ annual objective is to complete action on all 12 appropriations bills by October 1 when the new fiscal year begins. However, due to escalating disagreements on fiscal policy, it is rare for Congress to complete action on all 12 bills by October 1. The last time was 1996.  Instead, Congress often passes stop-gap measures, called “continuing resolutions,” to keep agencies operating at a particular level of funding (often the previous year’s funding level, with some adjustments) while they endeavor to complete appropriations action.  Sometimes, multiple CRs are adopted before final agreement on appropriations is reached.  And occasionally, political gridlock prevents adoption of a CR and the federal government shuts down.  Lengthy government shutdowns occurred in 1995 and 2013; a brief shutdown occurred in 2018.

  • 5th CR: Feb. 9, 2018: Bipartisan Budget Act include a continuing resolution through March 23 providing time for negotiating FY’18 appropriations consistent with the new caps.  
    • CR also includes provisions relating to the 2020 Decennial Census; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; the Southeastern Power Administration; juror fees; the Federal Family Education Loan program; the F-35A program; the Department of Transportation credit programs; authorization of the HOPE VI program; Indian Health Service facilities; and requirements for public institutions of higher education operating in severely economically distressed communities.
    • Read the Appropriations Committee CR summary
  • 4th CR: Jan. 22, 2018:  The Senate voted 81-18 to pass a stopgap funding measure (as an amendment to HR 195) to keep the government funded through February 8, 2018.  The House passed the measure by a largely party line vote of 266-150.  Following is the bill text, explanation, and cost :  Bill Text • Section-by-Section Summary • CBO cost estimate (although bear in mind that the expiration date has changed to February 8, 2018).  The stopgap funding measure:  
    • Continues funding for federal programs and agencies through Feb. 8;
    • Reauthorizes for 6 years the expired Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — a jointly financed Federal-State program that covers 9 million low-income children from families that have annual incomes above Medicaid eligibility levels but lack health insurance; and
    • Delays several Affordable Care Act taxes at a cost of $30 billion (suspends for 2018 and 2019 the 2.3% medical device excise tax for another two years, delays to 2022 the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for two years, and suspends for 2019 an annual excise tax on health insurers).
  • 3rd CR: Dec. 21, 2017:  House and Senate passed (and the President signed on Dec. 22) a third stop-gap continuing resolution (HR 1370) to keep the government funded through January 19, 2018The current stopgap CR:
  • 2d CR: Dec. 8, 2017  HJRes 123 (thru 12/22/17)
    • continues funding for all departments and agencies at FY 2017 levels
  • 1st CR: Sept. 8, 2017:  HR 601 (thru 12/08/17)

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Understanding the Parity Issue and Spending Caps:

  • The recently concluded spending negotiations were focused on “discretionary (non-entitlement) spending” which has declined from two-thirds of the budget in 1968 to less than one-third (30%) in 2018.  Total discretionary spending is split about equally between defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD).
  • Non-defense discretionary funds a multitude of government operations and programs including law enforcement, veterans healthcare, homeland security, education, prisons, NASA, disease and epidemic control, highways & bridges, food and drug inspection, disaster relief, airports, health research, housing assistance, and many other functions of government.
  • “Parity” refers to the desired policy of Democrats to increase the existing statutory caps on the defense and non-defense categories of discretionary spending by equal amounts.
  • Senate GOP Leader McConnell argued against parity pointing out that the Budget Control Act of 2011, which put the spending caps in place, took a larger bite out of defense than non-defense, but this ignores the fact that DOD receives more than 10% of its funding ($65 billion in FY ’17) from an off-budget war funding account (Overseas Contingency Operationsnot subject to the spending caps.  (Non-defense programs are also augmented by off-budget “emergency spending,” but defense off-budget spending has been more than four times larger since 2012.)
  • The rest of the budget — more than two-thirds — is spending on auto-pilot (so-called “mandatory” spending) — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements and interest on the federal debt.  Link to CBO’s long-term budget outlook to understand the growth in mandatory spending.

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Spending Caps Increased in 2013, 2015, and 2018

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 raised the statutory caps on discretionary spending by a total of $296 billion over FY’18 and FY’19.

  • Defense caps:
    • FY’18 increased from $549 billion to $629 billion (+$80 billion, 15%)
    • FY”19 increased from $562 billion to $647 billion (+$85 billion, 15%)
  • Non-Defense caps to increase $63 billion in FY ’18, and $68 billion in FY ’19.
    • FY’18 increased from $516 billion to $579 billion (+$63 billion, 12%)
    • FY’19 increased from $529 billion to $597 billion (+$68 billion, 13%)

The chart below displays the Statutory Spending Caps on Defense and Non-Defense Discretionary Spending as enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, and subsequently reduced (“sequestered”) by the inaction of the Joint Committee on Debt Reduction, and subsequently raised by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.   (Source for update numbers: CBO Sequestration Report and BBA of 2018)

Download PDF of Table Below

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Appropriations Links:

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Recent Developments:

  • March 23, 2018:  House and Senate passed the omnibus appropriations bill funding the government through September 30, 2018, averting a Friday midnight shutdown.  
  • Feb. 9, 2018: Bipartisan Budget Act include a continuing resolution through March 23 providing time for negotiating FY’18 appropriations consistent with the new caps.  
    • CR also includes provisions relating to the 2020 Decennial Census; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; the Southeastern Power Administration; juror fees; the Federal Family Education Loan program; the F-35A program; the Department of Transportation credit programs; authorization of the HOPE VI program; Indian Health Service facilities; and requirements for public institutions of higher education operating in severely economically distressed communities.
    • Read the Appropriations Committee CR summary
  • Jan. 22, 2018:  The Senate voted 81-18 to pass a stopgap funding measure (as an amendment to HR 195) to keep the government funded through February 8, 2018.  The House passed the measure by a largely party line vote of 266-150.  Following is the bill text, explanation, and cost :  Bill Text  Section-by-Section Summary  CBO cost estimate (although bear in mind that the expiration date has changed to February 8, 2018).  The stopgap funding measure:  
    • Continues funding for federal programs and agencies through Feb. 8;
    • Reauthorizes for 6 years the expired Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — a jointly financed Federal-State program that covers 9 million low-income children from families that have annual incomes above Medicaid eligibility levels but lack health insurance; and
    • Delays several Affordable Care Act taxes at a cost of $30 billion (suspends for 2018 and 2019 the 2.3% medical device excise tax for another two years, delays to 2022 the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for two years, and suspends for 2019 an annual excise tax on health insurers).
  • Jan. 19, 2018: Government shutdown at midnight and did not re-open until late Jan. 22 when the 4th CR was signed into law.
  • Jan. 4, 2017:  Senate Democratic Leader Schumer (D-NY) reiterated Jan. 4, 2018 key Democratic conditions for a spending deal:  parity for increases to defense and non-defense spending caps, protection for Dreamers, a fair disaster aid package for hurricane and wildfire victims, and health care provisions to stabilize insurance markets and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • Dec. 22, 2017:  With current funding about to expire, the House and Senate passed on Dec. 21 (and the President signed on Dec. 22) a third stop-gap continuing resolution (HR 1370) to keep the government funded through January 19, 2018 as negotiations continue on an FY 2018 budget deal.  The House passed the bill Dec. 21 on a mostly party-line vote of 231-188; and the Senate passed the measure 66-32.
  • Dec. 8, 2017:  2nd FY ’18 CR (HJRes 123) extends funding through 12/22/17.
  • Sept. 8, 2017:  1st FY ’18 CR (HR 601) extends funding through 12/08/17.
  • Oct. 31:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “we are in a four-cornered bipartisan negotiation over how to fund the government, including the Trump administration.” When asked when appropriations bills would be completed, he said “that job will have to be done by Dec. 8 and I think we’re on a path to do that,” reported Congressional Quarterly.  Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said negotiations are going “pretty well.” When asked whether he thought Democrats would get parity between defense and nondefense spending increases, he said “parity is something we have always stood for and are not backing away from.”
  • July 2017:  House FY 2018 302(b) Appropriations Subcommittee Allocations (These “placeholder” subcommittee allocations will have to be revised when Republicans and Democrats negotiate new top-line “spending cap” levels for FY 2018 defense and non-defense spending.)   House Interim Suballocations July 2017
  • July 20, 2017:  Senate FY 2018 Appropriations Guidance and Allocations  (These “placeholder” subcommittee allocations will have to be revised when Republicans and Democrats negotiate new top-line “spending cap” levels for FY 2018 defense and non-defense spending.)  Minority Offers Alternative Allocation
  • July 27, 2017:  
  • Sept. 14, 2017:  House merges minibus into FY 2018 Omnibus, but final action on FY ’18 appropriations awaits bipartisan negotiations on revising statutory spending caps.

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The 12 Appropriations Bills:

  • Homeland Security Appropriations
    7/18: House Full Committee Approved:  Summary   Report   Text
    (Incorporated into omnibus measure, passed 9/14.) 

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                  FY 2017 APPROPRIATIONS

  • ’17 LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE:
  • ’17 CBO COST ESTIMATE:
  • ’17 REPORT LANGUAGE:   Following is “report language” on each of the annual appropriations bills included in the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  Report language states the “intent of Congress” underlying the appropriated amounts.  With respect to FY 2017 Appropriations, there are three types of report language linked to below: (1) explanatory statements released along with the final legislative language in May 2017; (2) House Appropriations Committee language; and (3) Senate Appropriations Committee language.

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General Reports on Appropriations:

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Historical Database:  Appropriations & Budget Resolutions

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