The first version of this Pro Bill Analysis was available to POLITICO Pro subscribers on 3/22/18.
Senate clears omnibus spending bill, sends to Trump to beat Friday night deadline
03/23/2018 02:38 AM EDT
Note: This Pro Bill Analysis will be updated with more details.
The Senate shortly after midnight on March 23 passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill, H.R. 1625 (115), to extend government funding through Sept. 30. Congressional leaders had released the text of the 2,200-plus-page bill less than 29 hours earlier, upsetting members who wanted more time to review it.
The massive measure now heads to President Donald Trump, who must sign it by 11:59 p.m. to avert the third government shutdown in three months. Administration officials have said Trump will sign the package once he receives it.
The omnibus, which Republican and Democratic leaders negotiated for weeks with each other and the White House, would provide a $143 billion spending boost in fiscal 2018 to both the Pentagon and domestic programs — the largest increase in recent years. It includes all 12 of the fiscal 2018 spending bills.
WHAT’S IN THE BILL?
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies (Division A)
The bill would provide $23.259 billion for programs funded by this division, up from $20.88 billion in fiscal 2017.
Title I — Agricultural Programs: It would allocate $3.03 billion for agricultural research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a $138.8 million boost from fiscal 2017 levels.
Additionally, it would provide $985.1 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which supports programs intended to rid commodities of pests and diseases that threaten supplies. Funding for these programs would increase by $36 million.
Title II — Farm Production and Conservation Programs: The legislation would give farm programs $1.7 billion, $2 million above fiscal 2017 levels.
The Farm Service Agency would receive $1.618 billion for various farm, conservation and emergency loan programs and resources for hiring additional loan officers. The FSA would be barred from closing county offices.
The bill would provide $1.03 billion for conservation programs for farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners, including $160 million to help small communities make infrastructure improvements to safety standards for watershed projects.
Funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service would remain flat at $1 billion.
Title III — Rural Development Programs: The measure would include $680.8 million for salaries and expenses at USDA’s Rural Development division. It would also include funding for various programs including:
— $966 million for business and industry loans to promote small business in rural areas;
— $600 million to launch a loan-and-grant program for deploying broadband in rural America, which the White House requested as part of its budget proposal last month;
— $24 billion in loan authority for the Single Family Housing guaranteed loan program;
— $1.1 billion for a loan program that provides home loan assistance to low-income rural families, a $100 million increase; and
— $1.4 billion for the Rental Assistance program, which helps low-income families and the elderly in rural communities obtain affordable rental
Title IV — Domestic Food Programs: The bill would fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, based on USDA projections for enrollments, providing for $6.175 billion in discretionary funding.
Title V — Foreign Assistance and Related Programs: The food aid program Food for Peace would receive a total of $1.7 billion — bucking Trump's goal for complete elimination. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program would receive $207 million under the bill.
Title VI — Related Agencies and Food and Drug Administration: The bill would direct $5.15 billion to FDA, including revenue from user fees. Within that amount, funding for food and animal drug safety activities would grow to $20.2 million, and medical product safety activities would increase by $113.2 million, including $15 million to fund the new Oncology Center of Excellence. The increase includes $94 million designed to help FDA expand its efforts to crack down on shipments of synthetic opioids at international mail facilities. The measure would also appropriate $60 million fund the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 34 (114).
Title VII — General Provisions: The bill would include $74 billion in required mandatory spending for SNAP, a $4.5 billion cut from last year’s level but $400 million above Trump’s budget request.
USDA would get $1.057 billion to upgrade rural water and wastewater infrastructure, including $500 million to address the multibillion-dollar backlog of projects.
Congressional appropriators dealt a blow to the U.S. derivatives regulator, proposing a cut to the agency's funding for fiscal 2018. Lawmakers proposed a $249 million budget for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $1 million below the agency's fiscal 2017 funding.
CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo has proposed a $281.5 million budget that congressional Republicans have not endorsed.
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Division B)
The legislation would provide $59.6 billion for programs funded through this division, up from $56.6 billion in fiscal 2017.
Title I — Department of Commerce: The bill would include $11.1 billion for the Commerce Department, an increase of $1.9 billion above the 2017 enacted level.
Title II — Department of Justice: The bill would fund DOJ at $29.9 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion above the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
Title III — Science: The legislation would fund NSF at $7.8 billion – $295 million above the fiscal 2017 enacted level. Research and related activities would be funded at $6.3 billion, $301 million above the current level.
Department of Defense (Division C)
The legislation would lock in a major boost in defense spending and would give the Pentagon more flexibility to spend readiness funds in the final months of this fiscal year.
It would provide $654.6 billion for DoD, an injection of more than $61 billion from fiscal 2017. It would allocate $589.5 billion in discretionary funding for the base Pentagon budget, up from $516.1 billion in fiscal 2017; and $65.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, otherwise known as overseas war operations.
The bill would deliver on — at least for an initial year — on Republican defense hawks' goals of launching a major military buildup to meet what they see as growing threats around the world, including a renewed emphasis on matching military gains by Russia and China.
Title I — Military personnel: The bill would include $137.7 billion for military personnel and pay to provide for 1.2 million active-duty troops and 816,900 Guard and Reserve troops. The personnel levels are on par with the enacted fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 2810 (115).
When combined with previous supplemental funding, the Missile Defense Agency would be set to receive $11.5 billion, an increase of $3.3 billion from the previous fiscal year.
The measure would also fund a 2.4 percent military pay raise — the same level authorized by the defense policy bill and an increase from the Trump administration's 2.1 percent request.
A pair of provisions would give the Pentagon flexibility on operations and maintenance spending, a response to calls from lawmakers and defense officials that the services would have difficulty spending the massive increase effectively with roughly half the fiscal year remaining.
The omnibus would adjust the so-called 80/20 rule, which prohibits the Pentagon from obligating more than 20 percent of its annual funds in the final two months of a fiscal year, by increasing the limit to 25 percent. It would also increase the threshold for reprogramming operations and maintenance funds from $15 million to $20 million.
Title II — Operation and Maintenance: It would include $238 billion for operation and maintenance, $20.4 billion above the fiscal 2017 level.
Title III — Procurement: The legislation would fund 90 Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps at a total cost of $10.2 billion. That's an increase of 20 fighters and $2.9 billion from previous requests, according to appropriators.
Appropriators also would allocate an additional $739 million for 10 more Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets than requested for a total of 24 of the Boeing-built fighters.
Additionally, $1.6 billion would be provided for 30 new and 50 remanufactured Apache helicopters and $1.1 billion for 56 Black Hawk helicopters; another $2.9 billion would fund 18 new KC-46 aerial refueling tankers and $1.7 billion is allocated to procure 10 P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.
The legislation would include $23.8 billion for Navy shipbuilding efforts, an increase of $3.4 billion over the budget request. The bill would include money for 14 ships, including two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, two Virginia class submarines, three Littoral Combat Ships, an amphibious warship and an aircraft carrier.
The omnibus would also provide $150 million in advance procurement funds for a new heavy polar icebreaker and $1.4 billion for three of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle space launch systems.
Equipment procurement and upgrades would receive $144.3 billion for, $19.9 billion above the president’s request and $25.4 billion above the fiscal 2017 level.
Title IV — Research, Development, Test and Evaluation: The measure would include $89.2 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation of new defense technologies, $5.6 billion above the administration’s request and $16 billion above the fiscal 2017 level.
Title V — Revolving and Management Funds: The Defense Working Capital Funds would receive $1.69 billion.
Title VI — Other DoD programs: The bill would include $34.4 billion for defense health and military family programs, $764 million above Trump’s request.
Title VII — Related Agencies: The Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System Fund would receive $514 million and the Intelligence Community Management Account would get $537.6 million.
Title VIII — General provisions: The legislation would provide:
— $706 million, $558 million above the president’s request, for Israeli Cooperative Programs;
— $632 million, $178 million above the president’s request, for SM-3 Block IB interceptors; and
— $617 million, $165 million above the president’s request, for more Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors, among others.
Title IX — Overseas Contingency Operations: The legislation would provide $65.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies (Division D)
The legislation would provide $43.2 billion for national defense nuclear weapons activities, the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Energy programs, $5.4 billion above fiscal 2017 levels.
It would include $14.7 billion for DOE’s nuclear weapons security programs, a $1.7 billion increase above the fiscal 2017 level. Within that pot it would include:
— $10.6 billion for weapons activities, $1.4 billion above the fiscal 2017 level;
— $1.6 billion for naval nuclear reactors, $200 million above the fiscal 2017 level; and
— $2 billion for defense nuclear nonproliferation, $116 million above the fiscal 2017 level.
It would also include $248 million, $18 million above the fiscal 2017 level, for research and development activities to bolster energy infrastructure security.
Title I — Corps of Engineers: The legislation would include $6.83 billion, $789 million above the fiscal 2017 level, for the Army Corps of Engineers.
It would include $7.1 billion for environmental management activities, $706 million above the fiscal 2017 level. Within that pot, the measure would provide $6 billion to safely clean sites that were contaminated by nuclear weapons production.
The bill would allocate $123 million for water resources studies and $2.09 billion for construction of water resources projects, $209 million above the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
It would also allocate $3.63 billion for operation and maintenance of water resources projects, $481 million above the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
It would allot $1.9 billion to fund flood and storm damage reduction activities, a boost of $215 million from the fiscal 2017 level and $577 million above the budget request.
Title II — Department of the Interior: The legislation would provide $1.48 billion for the Interior department, $163 million more than the fiscal 2017 level. It would include within that pot $10.5 million for the Central Utah Project.
As drought grips broad swaths of the West, the Bureau of Reclamation would see a bump of $163 million to its budget, bringing it to $1.48 billion. Water storage projects authorized as part of major drought legislation in 2016 would get $134 million in funding under the bill.
The measure would provide $1.33 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account to help water storage, power and environmental compliance and other things. Within that amount, $196 million would be directed for the implementation of drought-related provisions of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, S. 612 (114).
Title III — Department of Energy: Lawmakers agreed to significant increases across a host of DOE programs in the bill, which included $34.5 billion overall for the agency — a $3.77 billion increase over fiscal 2017.
Energy programs within DOE would receive $12.9 billion in the deal, up $1.6 billion from the fiscal 2017 enacted levels and $5.4 billion more than the Trump administration's budget request. Nuclear security programs would get $14.7 billion, $1.7 billion above the fiscal 2017 enacted levels and $738 million above the request.
Science research programs within DOE would receive $6.26 billion, $868 million above the fiscal 2017 enacted levels and $1.8 billion above the administration's request. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which the Trump administration wanted to eliminate, would be saved and get $353.3 million in the agreement.
The agency's fossil fuels office would get $726.8 million, up $59 million above fiscal 2017 levels and an increase of $447 million above the budget request. Its energy efficiency and renewable energy division would get $2.3 billion, an increase of around $230 million from previously enacted levels. Nuclear energy research would get $1.2 billion, around a $190 million boost from previous levels.
The legislation would also allocate $10.6 billion for nuclear weapons activities, $1.3 billion more than the fiscal 2017 level; and $1.62 billion for naval reactors, $200 million more than the fiscal 2017 level.
It would also allot $7.13 billion for environmental cleanup activities across DOE, $706 million more than the fiscal 2017 level.
Efforts to protect the nation's electric grid from cybersecurity attacks would receive $248 million in the package, an increase of $18 million from previous efforts.
Title IV — Independent Agencies: The legislation would provide $391 million for eight agencies, including the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.
Financial Services and General Government (Division E)
The measure would include $23.4 billion, roughly $2 billion above fiscal 2017 levels and $725 million more than Trump’s request, for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the SEC and other agencies.
Title I — Department of the Treasury: The legislation would include $201.8 million for Treasury departmental offices salaries and expenses.
It would provide $141.8 million for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which combats terrorism financing and issues economic and trade sanctions.
It would provide $250 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which seeks to bolster economic opportunity in underserved communities. Trump's budget had proposed eliminating CDFI entirely, and House Republicans passed a spending bill, H.R. 3354 (115), in September that would have cut its spending to $190 million. Maintaining appropriations for the grants has been a priority of small banks and credit unions.
The IRS would receive more than $11.4 billion in fiscal 2018, including $320 million for implementing the new tax law. The total funding represents a $196 million increase from last year's enacted spending level, a reversal from recent years, as Republicans in Congress had reduced annual spending on the agency by about $1 billion since 2010.
The additional IRS money stems from a request from agency officials to write rules and regulations on the newly enacted tax law, H.R. 1 (115). The IRS had asked for $397 million over two years.
The overall IRS base funding is largely spread across three different areas, with $2.5 billion tabbed for taxpayer services, up $350 million from fiscal 2017. Most of the rest is for enforcement and operations support. The bill also includes an allocation for business systems modernization. Lawmakers have routinely complained about outdated information technology systems at the IRS.
It would also provide $350 million to help IRS’ customer service and funding for fraud prevention and cybersecurity.
Title II — Executive Office of the President and Funds Appropriated to the President: The bill would provide $415.5 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, $27.3 million above the fiscal 2017 level. Within this pot, it would provide $280 million for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, $26 million more than the fiscal 2017 level and $33 million more than the president’s request; and $117.1 million for other federal drug control programs.
The measure would allocate $99 million for Drug-Free Communities, $2 million more than the fiscal 2017 level and $7 million more than Trump’s request.
It would also provide an extra $10.4 million over the budget request for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
It would require OMB to submit a report to Congress on the costs of implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and would require quarterly updates from the Office of Financial Research and Treasury's Office of Financial Stability on their activities.
Title III — The Judiciary: The bill would provide $7.1 billion for federal courts, an increase of $183 million above the fiscal 2017 level, providing for processing of federal cases, court security and supervision.
Title IV — District of Columbia: The legislation would include $721 million for operations in the District of Columbia, a dip of $34.9 million below the fiscal 2017 level. The funding would seek to support its court system and offender supervision. It would include $45 million for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR), which gives scholarships to low-income students to go to private schools.
It would provide $700.8 million for the Small Business Administration, fully fund business loans at $156.2 million and include $12.3 million for veterans programs.
Title V — Independent agencies: The measure would provide $126 million for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in line with current spending levels and $3 million more than Trump’s budget request. Within this pot, $1.1 million would be directed for pool safety grants.
It would include $290.8 million for OPM, a boost of $2 million than the fiscal 2017 level and in line with the president’s request. The measure would also provide $21 million for technology security improvements.
The legislation would provide $1.65 billion for the SEC, $47 million above the fiscal 2017 level, and another $244 million for costs related to relocating its headquarters. It would allocate $45 million for the agency to invest in IT and cybersecurity to prevent cybercrime and interference.
It would allocate $249 million for the CFTC, a decrease of $1 million; and $380 million to the Election Assistance Commission for state grants to bolster election security for federal office, including modernizing election technology and improving security.
It would provide $322 million for the FCC, a decrease of $34.7 million from the fiscal 2017 level; and $600 million for the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund in fiscal 2018 and $400 million in fiscal 2019.
It would allow the General Services Administration to use $9.1 billion from the Federal Buildings Fund, $228.8 million above the fiscal 2017 level. It would include $100 million for the Technology Modernization fund enacted in H.R. 2810 (115).
The measure would also include $5 million for the new Public Buildings Reform Board and $5 million for the Asset Proceeds and Space Management Fund. The board would use the fund to slash excess federal property.
Title VI — General provisions: The measure would block federal and local funds for being used for abortion and would block federal funds from being used for needle exchanges in D.C.
Title VII — Other legislative provisions: It would block funds for abortions in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program and would prohibit funds toward requiring that entities applying for or working under federal contracts disclose campaign contributions.
Department of Homeland Security (Division F)
The bill would allocate $47.72 billion for DHS, $5.32 billion more than fiscal 2017, plus an additional $7.4 billion for disaster relief and emergency response activities through FEMA, which would be $573 million above the president’s request.
Title II — Security, Enforcement and Investigations: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would receive a 10 percent funding boost under the bill.
The bill proposes $14 billion in funding for Customs and Border Protection, a $1.8 billion boost above current funding levels that, among other things, would enable the agency to hire 328 additional customs officers at airports and other ports of entry.
The legislation would direct $1.57 billion for physical barriers and related technology along the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is almost entirely fee-funded, would receive a 10 percent increase in discretionary funds for the E-Verify program, which allows employers to check employees’ work authorization, at $7.1 billion, $640.6 million above the fiscal 2017 level.
Within this pot, it would include:
— $4.1 billion for detention and removal programs;
— $2.2 billion, an increase of $79.6 million above the president’s request, for investigations programs; and
— $15.6 million for law enforcement officers, attorneys and support staff.
The measure would include funding for TSA to quickly adopt new airport screening technology but would slash the agency's overall budget.
TSA would receive $4.9 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal 2018 — a $260 million cut from current funding levels — and would also tack on additional items to TSA's budget request. Those items would include $126 million for the agency's airport screening operations and $64 million to expedite the purchase and testing of 3-D computed tomography machines that House lawmakers have been urging TSA to quickly adopt to address evolving threats. Other add-ons would include $45 million for a grant program that reimburses airports that hire local law enforcement, $50 million for an airport baggage screening reimbursement program and $43 million to help TSA maintain its 31 Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams.
The measure would provide $12.1 billion in discretionary funding to the Coast Guard, $1.7 billion above what the service received in fiscal 2017. Specifically, the bill would include an additional $150 million to help with the construction of a heavy polar icebreaker, which Coast Guard leadership has said is a top priority for the service. It would also set aside more than $150 million in funding for Coast Guard shipbuilding in an omnibus package enacted last year.
The latest funding boost would also sustain the "acquisition schedule for a new cutter fleet" that includes a national security cutter, six fast response cutters and an offshore patrol cutter, according to the bill.
Title III — Protection, Preparedness, Response and Recovery: The legislation would provide $3.29 billion for FEMA activities through grants, contracts, cooperative agreements and others, and would include:
— $1.34 billion for state and local grants and preparedness training;
— $700 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants to ensure fire departments are staffed and equipped;
— $507 million for the state Homeland Security Grant Program;
— $350 million in Emergency Management Performance Grants to help communities manage a disaster; and
— $262.5 million to address the backlog in flood map production and quality.
Title IV — Research, Development, Training and Services: The bill would provide $108.86 million for the operations and support of ICE’s E-Verify program, and would allocate $22.66 million for the procurement, construction and improvements of the program through Sept. 30, 2020.
It would set $54.66 million for the operations and support of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and $89.1 million for the procurement, construction and improvement of the office.
Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (Division G)
The measure would provide $35.25 billion for the Interior Department, EPA, U.S. Forest Service, Indian Health Service and other agencies and programs, up from $32.28 billion in fiscal 2017.
Title I — Department of the Interior: The bill would keep the Interior Department's budget for fiscal year 2018 relatively flat at $13.1 billion, but would boost funding for agencies in charge of offshore oil and gas development.
The proposal would ignore Trump's request to cut Interior's budget to $11.6 billion. It would increase funding for Interior's Bureau of Land Management by $79 million, to $1.33 billion, to help improve rangeland management and energy development.
It would also increase funding for Interior agencies overseeing offshore oil and gas development and rig safety. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which manages Interior's offshore oil and gas leasing program, would receive $171 million, up from $112 million currently allotted. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil and gas rig safety, would receive $186 million, up from $98 million approved last year.
Funding for the U.S. Geological Survey, which helps analyze domestic energy reserves, would increase to $1.1 billion.
Some forest management changes being pushed by western senators, like Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), also slid into the omnibus — including reversing the so-called Cottonwood decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Essentially, the omnibus would codify that federal agencies don’t have to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service on a programming level when new critical habitat is designated or there is a new Endangered Species Act listing.
Title II — Environmental Protection Agency: EPA's operational budget would remain roughly unchanged under the bill, although the agency would get hundreds of millions of dollars in extra money to spend on grants and loans to states for environmental cleanups.
The agency's "base" funding would remain at about $8.1 billion, in line with 2017's level. That would shift $23.5 million away from regulatory programs.
EPA's extra money under the deal would go to grant programs. The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds are slated to get an additional $300 million each, for a total of $2.9 billion in funding, and $50 million is tagged for new programs created in 2017's major water resources bill that focus on basic infrastructure for small and disadvantaged communities and reducing lead in school drinking water systems. The WIFIA loan program would also see its budget boosted to $63 million, and the Superfund program would get a $66 million bump, bringing its budget to $1.15 billion.
The bill would more than triple money set aside for chemical evaluations under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act, to $10 million.
The bill would keep funding steady for EPA's Office of Inspector General. The Trump administration had suggested significant cuts to the IG, which is looking into Administrator Scott Pruitt's travel spending.
A provision to protect the Trump administration's repeal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule was dropped from the bill.
Title III — Related Agencies: The measure would include:
— $6 billion for the Forest Service, of which $2.8 billion would be directed to wildlife fire prevention and suppression;
— $5.5 billion for the Indian Health Service, a boost of $498 million above the fiscal 2017 level; and
— $3.1 billion for the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Education, an increase of $204 million above the fiscal 2017 level.
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies (Division H)
The legislation would provide $177.1 billion for this division, an increase from $161 billion in fiscal 2017.
Title I — Department of Labor: The bill would provide $12.2 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Labor Department, an increase of $129 million from the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
Title II — Department of Health and Human Services: The bill would allocate $78 billion to HHS in budget authority, an increase of $10 billion above the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
Under HHS, about $1 billion would go toward state and tribal grants created under the 21st Century Cures Act to respond to the opioid crisis.
Almost $500 million more would be slated for the CDC's prevention and surveillance activities, and another $500 million would go to the NIH for research on opioid addiction and new non-addictive pain therapies.
An additional $130 million would go to address opioid addiction in rural areas, and $94 million would seek to help FDA expand its efforts to crack down on shipments of synthetic opioids at international mail facilities.
Overall, congressional appropriators would commit roughly $4 billion to fight the opioid crisis, with funding spread across not only agencies in HHS, but also the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs for prevention, treatment and law enforcement. It represents a $3 billion increase over the funding lawmakers committed last year to addressing the misuse of prescription painkillers.
The bill would also provide increases for several research initiatives, including:
— $1.8 billion (an increase of $414 million) for Alzheimer’s disease research;
— $543 million (an increase of $27 million) for Clinical and Translational Science Awards;
— $400 million (an increase of $140 million) for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative;
— $351 million (an increase of $17 million) for research on combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria;
— $351 million (an increase of $17 million) for Institutional Development Awards;
— $290 million (an increase of $60 million) for the All of Us research initiative (formerly called the Precision Medicine Initiative);
— $100 million (an increase of $40 million) for research to develop a universal flu vaccine; and
— $10 million (an increase of $8 million) for regenerative medicine research.
Title III — Department of Education: The department would receive a $3.9 billion boost, with extra funding for student aid programs, K-12 schools serving low-income students and civil rights enforcement.
The bill would fund DOE at $70.9 billion in fiscal 2018 — a 6 percent increase over fiscal 2017.
Congressional leaders had a deal to increase spending in the bill on "college affordability" by $2 billion this year and in fiscal 2019. Those increases were scattered across a range of programs, including Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and others.
The $3.9 billion boost would include increases of:
— $300 million for Title I-A grants, which go to schools with high percentages of low-income children, which would bring the total funding for the program to $15.8 billion.
— $299 million for Special Education state grants, which would bring the program total to $13.1 billion.
— $700 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which go toward school counseling and mental health services, technology investments and STEM education and would bring the total funding for the program to $1.1 billion.
— A $175 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award, which would be set at $6,095.
— $140 million for Federal Work-Study, which would bring the total to $1.1 billion.
— $8.5 million for the Office for Civil Rights, which would be funded at $117 million.
The title also contains a provision that would prohibit the Education Department from moving forward with plans to decentralize some functions of the budget office and would prohibit the department from "implementing a reorganization that decentralizes, reduces the staffing level, or alters the responsibilities, structure, authority, or functionality of the Budget Service" as it existed on Jan. 1.
The measure would also pour millions more into historically black colleges and universities, including a $35 million, 14 percent boost to a program meant to help the schools strengthen their physical plants, financial management, academic resources and endowment-building capacity.
The measure would designate:
— $180 million for Indian education expenses.
— $27 million to promote the education of the blind and $73 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
— $128 million for the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, the Model Secondary School for the Deaf and the partial support of Gallaudet University.
— $1.831 billion for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, of which $1.040 billion would become available on July 1, 2018, and would remain available through Sept. 30, 2019. Another $791 million would become available on Oct. 1, 2018, and would remain available through Sept. 30, 2019. Of the amounts made available for AEFLA, $13.7 million would be for national leadership activities.
— $233 million for Howard University.
The measure would take language from S. 597 (115), which would increase federal Pell Grants available for the children of fallen first responders and public safety officers. In particular, children would be eligible for the maximum Pell Grant award authorized by law, currently $5,920 per year for a full-time student.
Legislative Branch (Division I)
The legislation would direct $4.7 billion to the legislative branch, an increase of $260 million above last year’s levels, but $168.8 million below the budget request for fiscal 2018. The bill would provide for cybersecurity enhancements across the legislative branch, to both secure data and ensure operational reliability.
The measure would fund House operations at $1.2 billion, an $11 million increase over last year’s levels. The increase would be put toward increased security for members outside of the Capitol complex, the expansion of a House child care center, workplace harassment training and the creation of an employee advocacy office for employees involved in proceedings with the Office of Compliance and Ethics Committee.
Senate operations would be funded at $919.9 million under the legislation, $48.8 million above 2017 levels.
The bill would provide $426.5 million for the U.S. Capitol Police, which would amount to a $33.2 million boost from 2017 levels and a $4.2 million increase from the 2018 budget request. Within that pot is $7.5 million for increased training for officers, equipment and technology-related support, and ensuring officers have adequate tools and resources.
The Architect of the Capitol would be funded at $712.1 million, down from $70.9 million in the fiscal 2018 budget request.
The legislation would direct $669.9 to the Library of Congress, an increase of $37.9 million above current levels and $33.5 million below the budget request. The funding would allow for IT modernization, as well as a veterans’ oral history initiative and promoting the library’s online resources to educators.
Funding for the Government Publishing Office would remain flat under the bill, at $117 million.
The federal government’s watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, would receive a $34.4 million boost under the bill, to $578.9 million.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (Division J)
The legislation would provide $92.7 billion in discretionary funding, up from $83 billion in fiscal 2017.
Title I — Department of Defense: The bill would inject $2.4 billion for military construction, providing a total of $10.1 billion.
The spending bill would include:
— $1.4 billion for military family housing for fiscal year 2018, $133 million above the fiscal 2017 level and $2 million more than the Trump administration’s request;
— $708 million for the construction or modifications of military medical facilities, an increase of $404 million above the fiscal 2017 level;
— $645 million for the construction or modification of Guard and Reserve facilities, $450 million above the president’s request;
— $310 million for the DoD Base Realignment and Closure fund, $54 million more than the president’s request and $70 million more than current spending levels;
— $250 million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at four DOD Education Activities facilities that manage schools for military children;
— $178 million for the NATO Security Investment Program, in line with current spending levels and $24 million more than the president’s request; and
— $115 million to build two new barracks for service members at Guantanamo Bay.
Title II — Department of Veterans Affairs: The legislation would allocate $81.5 billion for discretionary funding, an increase of $7.1 billion above the fiscal 2017 level, for the VA.
It would provide $68.8 billion for medical care at the VA. Within this pot, it would include:
— $8.39 billion in mental health care services;
— $7.3 billion in homeless veterans treatment, services, housing and job training;
— $751 million for hepatitis C treatment;
— $386 million for opioid abuse prevention;
— $316 million for traumatic brain injury treatment;
— $270 million in rural health initiatives; and
— $196 million in suicide prevention outreach.
The legislation would also include $782 million for the new VA electronic health record system. It would fund construction at the VA at $855 million, and $2 billion for infrastructure repair.
Title III — Related Agencies: The measure would include $427 million in funding for related agencies including:
— $247.8 million for Arlington National Cemetery, including $167 million to begin to fund the cemetery’s Southern Expansion Project;
— $79 million for the American Battle Monuments Commission;
— $64.3 million for the Armed Forces Retirement Home; and
— $33.6 million for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Title IV — Overseas Contingency Operations: It would also include an additional $750 million in Overseas Contingency Operations funding, which would include funding for the European Deterrence and Reassurance Initiative projects, a $330 million boost above the fiscal 2017 enacted level.
Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (Division K)
The measure would fund the State Department, foreign operations and related programs at $54 billion, the largest cut among the 12 annual spending measures at $3.4 billion below fiscal 2017 levels.
Title I — Department of State and Related Agency: The measure would fund the State Department and related agencies at $16 billion for base and OCO funding for operational costs. That amount would be a reduction of $1.8 billion from fiscal 2017 largely due to lower costs of United Nations international peacekeeping missions and a onetime infusion of supplemental funds provided last year in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act for ramping up operations to counter the Islamic State forces.
The total would include $6 billion ($2.1 billion more than the president’s budget request) for embassy security and other needs at nearly 300 embassies.
The measure would direct $68.1 million for the Office of Inspector General, and $54.9 million would go to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
Title II — United States Agency for International Development: USAID and the USAID Office of Inspector General would see its budget slashed by $24 million under the measure, down to $1.6 billion.
Title III — Bilateral Economic Assistance: The package would put $16.8 billion toward bilateral assistance to foreign countries, which would be a $900 million drop from current levels. These funds would seek to provide stability in volatile regions and enhance U.S. presence in critical and strategic areas.
This amount would include $8.1 billion in funding for economic and development assistance and $8.7 billion for global health as broken down below:
— A stagnant $6 billion for global HIV/AIDS assistance, split among the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Fund and USAID HIV/AIDS programs;
— $172.6 million for global health security, which aims to protect the U.S. from contagious disease outbreaks abroad;
— $59 million for polio eradication efforts, including not less than $7.5 million for programs for Pakistan and Afghanistan, also unchanged from last year’s levels;
— $829.5 million for maternal and child health programs. This total includes $290 million for Bill and Melinda Gates’ public-private health partnership Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance;
— $755 million to combat malaria;
— $261 million for tuberculosis programs, a $20 million boost from current levels; and
— $100 million to combat neglected tropical diseases.
Title IV — International Security Assistance: International security assistance initiatives would be funded at $9 billion, which includes money for international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations and security assistance for key allies and partners.
The legislation would provide $3.1 billion in assistance funding for Israel.
It would also direct $1.525 billion to Jordan, $165.4 million in assistance for Tunisia and $420.7 million in assistance for Ukraine. Assistance funding for those three nations would also include authority for loan guarantees. The appropriations for Jordan and Tunisia would include authority for an enterprise fund in addition.
The bill would allow for $1.3 billion for security assistance and $112.5 million in economic assistance for Egypt if it continues to sustain a strategic partnership with the United States and adheres to a peace treaty it has with Israel. The measure would allow conditional funding to Syria, provided it goes to non-lethal aid in areas not under control of the Syrian government and that any funding is first approved by Congress.
The bill would include $250 million in funding for a program to counter Russian aggression in the Ukraine and Georgia. That amount would give the Countering Russian Influence Fund a $150 million boost over prior levels.
The measure would contain provisions dictating assistance to Afghanistan based on transparency and accountability, and would prohibit funds for major infrastructure projects there.
Title V — Multilateral Assistance: The measure would fund multilateral assistance efforts at $1.9 billion, down from $252.9 million currently. The provision would include funding for the United States to meet commitments to international financial institutions.
The measure would not include authority to exceed the statutory 25 percent cap on U.S. contributions for U.N. peacekeeping activities.
The bill would fund contributions for international organizations at the 22 percent assessed level, and it would include a new provision to withhold 5 percent of the funds appropriated under contributions to international organizations from any specialized agency or other entity of the U.N. that the secretary of State, in consultation with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., determines has taken an official action against the national security interest of the United States or a U.S. ally, including Israel, with a waiver.
Title VI — Export and Investment Assistance: The legislation would allocate $2.3 billion for democracy and human right programs abroad. From that amount, $215.5 million would go toward the Democracy Fund.
The measure would also keep funding for the National Endowment for Democracy steady at $170 million. That funding includes $15 million to advocate democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela and $3 million for the documentation of human rights abuses in Myanmar, and in particular abuses against the Rohingya.
Title VII — General Provisions: The measure would allocate $7.6 billion to fund humanitarian assistance programs to respond to global displacements. Of that amount, $3.06 billion would go to the Migration and Refugee Assistance program and $4.3 billion would be directed to International Disaster Assistance, a $142.5 million decrease from 2017 levels.
The bill would provide $25 million to promote and protect religious freedom abroad. In addition to these funds, the measure would allocate $6.5 million for the ambassador-at-large for religious freedom and $2 million for the special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.
It would also dedicate $500 million to a recovery fund to address instability in areas liberated from, at risk from, or under the control of the ISIS or other terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Africa.
The bill would continue restrictions on assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as restrictions on assistance for the Palestinian Authority. A new provision in the legislation would block funding for any educational institution in the West Bank or Gaza that the secretary of State determines is named after an individual who committed an act of terrorism.
The legislation includes measures that would seek to increase oversight of foreign programs and improve management, including:
— Blocking money for private email servers used by State or USAID employees;
— Adding requirements for providing direct funding to foreign governments and local organizations;
— Maintaining funding for Freedom for Information Act requests;
— Requiring that Congress be notified before State commits assistance to foreign governments that accept Guantanamo Bay detainees;
— Requiring congressional oversight before multi-year funding commitments can be made regarding foreign governments;
— Blocking funding for the U.N. Human Rights Council until the secretary of State decides that the UNHRC is taking sufficient steps in removing Israel as an agenda item;
— Newly requiring the secretary of State to outline the U.S. strategy for engagement in North Africa;
— Blocking funding for the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty;
— Overriding anti-coal regulations of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, and World Bank to allow the financing of coal-fired and other power generation projects by U.S. companies overseas; and
— Maintaining programs that restrict funding for abortions and certain family planning programs abroad.
It adds a provision that would block funding to a central government that the secretary of State determines has made significant material contributions to North Korea’s cyber intrusions, with a waiver.
The bill would require the secretary of State to review assistance given to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals who are detained abroad; recommend ways to improve State’s ability to identify cases of wrongful or unlawful detention of U.S. citizens; and improve assistance to those people.
The U.S. Strategy for Central America, a State initiative promoting institutional reforms and addressing developmental challenges in Central America, would receive $615 million in funding for implementation under the legislation.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (Division L)
The legislation would provide $70.3 billion in net discretionary funding for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments and other agencies, $12.65 billion above the fiscal 2017 level.
It would provide an additional $10.6 billion above the fiscal 2017 level for infrastructure.
Title I — DOT: The legislation would allocate $27.3 billion in discretionary funding for DOT, an $8.7 billion boost from the 2017 fiscal year.
It would provide:
— $18 billion for the FAA, $1.6 billion above the fiscal 2017 level. It would boost funding for NextGen by $239 million to $1.3 billion. It would also set $165 million for the Contract Tower program and $1 billion in airport discretionary grants for airports that need infrastructure improvements.
— $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund, $1 billion above the fiscal 2017 level, for the Federal-aid Highways Program. The measure would include an additional $2.5 billion for discretionary highway funding, which would be a total increase of $3.5 billion for roads and bridges over the fiscal 2017 level. The title would also direct $100 million for a research and development program on driverless cars.
— $1.5 billion for the TIGER grant program, three times the level for this fiscal year. Trump's budgets have asked Congress to eliminate TIGER.
— $3.1 billion for rail infrastructure and safety programs, $1.2 billion over the fiscal 2017 enacted level. It would give Amtrak $1.9 billion, which would include $1.3 billion for its national network and $650 million for Northeast Corridor grants. The bill would allocate $250 million for state of good repair grants. In addition, $250 million would go to grants for implementing positive train control.
— $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $1 billion above the fiscal 2017 level and $2.3 billion above the president’s request. The bill would fund the Capital Investment Grant program at $2.6 billion, with $1.5 billion for New Starts, $716 million for Core Capacity projects and $401 million for Small Starts.
Among the funding restrictions in the title, the bill would prohibit funds for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Roadside Survey (Sec. 142) and would exempt livestock haulers from requirements that commercial truckers use electronic logging devices (Sec. 132).
The bill would not specifically funnel any of the money to the multibillion-dollar Gateway program, a $30 billion megaproject to build a new tunnel between New York and New Jersey. While some portion of the bill's pot of money could ultimately go toward Gateway, the administration is arguing that it would still be subject to at least some level of approval by DOT.
“From our vantage point, all Gateway-related bill text and report language has been stripped out in the final bill," a senior DOT official said.
But a senior Democratic aide maintained tonight that as much as $541 million would be available for Gateway in fiscal 2018 that doesn't require DOT sign-off. According to the aide, Amtrak estimates it could send at least $388 million "directly to Gateway projects," and New York and New Jersey would be awarded $153 million in FTA State-of-Good-Repair and High-Density State formula funding "that can be used to help cover expenses on Gateway related projects."
Title II — Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD would receive a net total of $42.7 billion, an increase of $3.9 billion, or 10 percent, over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
That figure is also over $11 billion more than what Trump sought in net discretionary funding for this fiscal year.
The largest share of funds — $30.3 billion, a $2.8 billion bump over last year — would go to public and Native American housing programs. The bill would allot $7.7 billion — an $866 million increase — to community development programs; of that, the popular Community Development Block Grant program would receive $3.3 billion, $300 million above the previous year.
Trump requested $31.4 billion in net new budget authority for fiscal year 2018. His most recent budget proposal requested $31.2 billion in net new discretionary budget authority for fiscal 2019, after accounting for offsetting receipts from housing-related programs.
The measure would also include funding for lead hazard reduction grants at $230 million, $85 million above current spending levels.
Extensions (Division M)
Title I — Airport and Airway Extension: The bill would include a six-month FAA extension. Currently, FAA is funded through March 31 via H.R. 3823 (115), which was signed into law by the president in September 2017.
If the package is signed into law, Congress will have until Sept. 30 to clear a long-term FAA reauthorization. Competing House and Senate stand-alone authorization bills, H.R. 2997 (115) and S. 1405 (115), have gone through their respective committees but have not reached the floor.
Title II — Immigration Extensions: The omnibus includes language that would allow DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to approximately double the number of H-2B guest worker visas available in fiscal year 2018. The visa program offers 66,000 visas annually to businesses that seek foreign workers in seasonal, non-agricultural roles. When Congress enacted the fiscal 2017 omnibus spending bill last year, it included the same rider. Then-DHS Secretary John Kelly (in consultation with the DOL) eventually agreed in July to add 15,000 additional visas — what he called a "one-time increase."
Title III — National Flood Insurance Program Extension: The bill would decouple the expiration of the National Flood Insurance Program from government funding — a victory for House Republicans who want to push the Senate to act on reform legislation. The House passed H.R. 2874 (115), a five-year NFIP reauthorization bill, in November.
The flood program would expire on July 31, well ahead of the next appropriations deadline of Sept. 30.
Title IV — Pesticide Registration Improvement Act Extension: The bill includes a provision to extend through Sept. 30, 2018, a rule that charges pesticide makers a fee to get timely EPA approval for their products.
Title V — Generalized System of Preferences: The measure would renew for three years the Generalized System of Preferences program that waives duties on thousands of goods from developing countries to promote economic development and jobs. The GSP program expired at the end of December, but any duties collected since Jan. 1 would be reimbursed.
The title would include GSP revisions championed by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). GSP rules restrict imports of a particular product to certain dollar and percentage amounts called “competitive need limitations.” USTR may grant a CNL waiver under certain conditions, such as U.S. national security interests, no domestic production or low total imports. Previously, a waiver on the grounds of no domestic production could only be granted if there was no production on Jan. 1, 1995. The bill would allow a waiver to be granted if there was no production during the previous three years.
Title VI — Judicial Redaction Authority Extension: The bill would extend for 10 years authority to redact names and other information in financial disclosure reports filed by federal employees as required by the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.
Title VII — Budgetary effects: The measure would stipulate that none of the non-appropriations divisions of the bill would count toward PAYGO budget scorekeeping.
BUILD Act (Division N)
The bill includes language from a bill, S. 822 (115), that would reauthorize and tweak aspects of the EPA's brownfields program. It would allow the EPA to provide grants to clean up brownfields and to support state brownfield programs.
Brownfields are areas where the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance makes it difficult to use or develop the property.
It would amend enacted legislation, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1990 to authorize Brownfields revitalization funding at $200 million for fiscal years 2019 through 2023; and $50 million for state response program funding for fiscal years 2019 through 2023.
Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act (Division O)
The bill would include an emergency pot of money that the U.S. Forest Service could use when it exceeds its fire-suppression budget.
The language intends to resolve "fire borrowing," which forces the Forest Service each year to dip into money set aside for activities like land management to pay for fighting wildfires. As these disasters increase in frequency and intensity, agency officials have told Congress that they conduct less prescribed burning, harvesting, insect control and other efforts intended to prevent wildfires in the first place because they have to hoard funding for suppression.
In 1995, the Forest Service spent 16 percent of its budget on wildfire suppression; that portion jumped to 56 percent in 2016. The agency predicts suppression will account for more than two-thirds of its funding by 2021.
Other emergencies, like hurricanes, typically receive special aid from Congress. But the Forest Service, which is part of USDA, has typically exceeded its budget for fighting wildfires because of the severity of damage in recent years. The amount of money the Forest Service has in its wildfire account each year has been based on a 10-year average.
The omnibus language would treat wildfire suppression like other natural disasters by allowing a funding cap — currently based on a historical 10-year average of money devoted to the effort — to be adjusted when it exceeds that limit, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) told reporters March 21. That way, the Forest Service doesn’t have to wait to be reimbursed by Congress for the extra spending.
Wildfires ravaged Western states last year, leading the Forest Service and Interior to spend nearly $2.9 billion in fighting them, far exceeding their allotted budgets. Congress passed a record disaster aid package in response that included $575 million dedicated to the devastating wildfires in California and the West.
State agriculture leaders have complained about ad hoc fixes to disaster relief, calling for permanent funds for addressing natural disasters to be included in the coming farm bill.
Ray Baum’s Act of 2018 (Division P)
The measure incorporated almost all of a bill, H.R. 4986 (115), that would reauthorize the FCC for the first time since 1990 and make procedural changes to commission rules in an effort to increase transparency at the agency.
Title I — FCC reauthorization: The measure would authorize $333 million for fiscal 2019 and $340 million for fiscal 2020 for the FCC.
The bill would allow the FCC to deposit upfront payments from spectrum bidders for spectrum auctions directly with the U.S. Treasury.
Title II — Application of Antideficiency Act: The bill would extend current law exempting the Universal Service Fund from provisions of the Antideficiency Act for another year, through 2019.
Title III — Securing access to networks in disasters: The measure would incorporate H.R. 588 (115), from Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), that would require the FCC to conduct and publish a study on the cost and feasibility of making WiFi access to 9-1-1 services available to the public in an emergency. It would also expand the definition of essential service providers to allow wireline or mobile telephone service, Internet access service, radio or television broadcasting, cable service or direct broadcast satellite service providers to access disaster sites during declared emergencies to provide repairs.
Title IV — FCC consolidated reporting: The legislation would require the commission, in the last quarter of every even-numbered year, to create a report assessing the state of competition in the communications marketplace, assess the deployment of communications capabilities, assess any barriers to competitive entry into the communications marketplace created by laws or regulations, outline the agenda of the commission for the next two-year period and describe actions the commission has taken to address challenges and create opportunities in the communications marketplace (Sec. 401).
The bill would repeal several telecommunications reports and consolidate other reports on topics such as international broadband data and cable industry prices (Sec. 402) and would include a disclaimer that no provision in the measure should be constructed to expand or contract the authority of the commission (Sec. 403) or prohibit the commission from producing any additional reports otherwise within its authority (Sec. 404).
Title V — Additional provisions: The measure would incorporate language from a number of stand-alone bills:
— H.R. 2636 (115), from Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), would require the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint the FCC inspector general. Under current law, the FCC appoints its inspector general (Sec. 501).
— H.R. 2546 (115), from Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), would require the FCC to ensure that the commission's chief information officer has a significant role in the planning and budgeting decision-making process and the management, governance and oversight process related to information technology, as well as the hiring of personnel with information technology responsibilities.
The section would also require the FCC CIO to approve the allocation of amounts appropriated to the FCC for information technology (Sec. 502).
— H.R. 423 (115), from Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), would target “caller ID spoofing,” where individuals disguise their phone numbers to make it appear that they’re calling from a government agency, bank, police department, credit card company, pharmacy or hospital and use information they receive to commit fraud.
The section would broaden current law to prohibit spoofing by foreigners, include new internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, services that enable callers to make outgoing-only calls and include text messaging (Sec. 503).
— H.R. 3995 (115), from Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), would direct the FCC to produce a report that would examine the current state of veterans’ access to broadband and what can be done to increase access, with a focus on low-income veterans and those living in rural areas. The section would require the FCC to complete the report within one year and include findings and recommendations for Congress (Sec. 504).
—S. 1621 (115), from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), would require the FCC to standardize its wireless coverage data and would establish a consistent methodology for its collection of coverage data about the available speed tiers and performance characteristics of commercial mobile and data service for the Universal Service program or any similar programs. Similar language exists in H.R. 1546 (115) as well (Sec. 505).
— Language related to H.R. 5236 (114), from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif), would require the FCC to study, within 18 months, whether to adopt rules requiring all systems, including multiline systems, to provide first responders with the precise location of a 9-1-1 caller. Eshoo's bill would require the FCC to adopt the new rule, rather than have a proceeding to examine whether to adopt the requirement (Sec. 506).
— Language that would require the assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information to complete a study on how the National Telecommunications and Information Administration can best coordinate the interagency process following cybersecurity incidents. An earlier version of the bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee included provisions from H.R. 1340 (115), by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), which would require creation of an interagency committee to review cybersecurity incidents, recommend investigations and issue regular reports on the results of these investigations (Sec. 507).
— Language that would require the FCC to submit a report to Congress within one year of enactment evaluating broadband coverage on tribal lands and complete a rulemaking proceeding within 30 months to address unserved tribal areas identified in the report. Energy and Commerce member Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) has a bill, H.R. 1581 (115), that would add “Indian Country” to the list of areas that should receive federal money for broadband access. He said he remains hopeful his language will end up in the final version of the bill (Sec. 508).
It would also allow commissioners appointed to finish unexpired terms to serve beyond the end of the five-year term and until the end of the session of Congress that begins after the term expires, provided a successor has not taken the oath of office (Sec. 509). It would prohibit the commission from changing its rules for universal service support payments to implement the 2004 recommendations of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service regarding single connection or primary line restrictions on universal service support payments (Sec. 510).
The bill would require the FCC to include a disclaimer in all press releases concerning the issuance of a notice of apparent liability that advises that the notice represents only an allegation (Sec. 511) and would require the commission to issue an annual report describing possible spectrum auctions over the coming year (Sec. 512).
Title VI — MOBILE NOW: The measure also would incorporate S. 19 (115) from Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.). That bill would open up new swaths of spectrum for wireless industry use and seek to free up airwaves for 5G wireless. The Senate passed the legislation on Aug. 3 by unanimous consent.
The bill would require the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to make available at least 255 megahertz of federal and non-federal spectrum for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use by the end of 2022. It would require at least 100 megahertz below the frequency of 8000 megahertz for unlicensed use and 100 megahertz below the frequency of 6000 megahertz for use on an exclusive, licensed basis for commercial mobile use.
The FCC and NTIA, in identifying spectrum, would need to consider: the need to preserve critical existing and planned federal government capabilities; the impact on existing state, local and tribal government capabilities; international implications; appropriate enforcement mechanisms and authorities; and the importance of the deployment of wireless broadband services in rural areas. Spectrum made available on or after Feb. 11, 2016, may be included in the requirements of this section (Sec. 603).
The title would require the FCC to publish a notice within two years of enactment on proposed rulemaking to consider service rules to authorize mobile or fixed terrestrial wireless operations in the radio frequency band between 42000 and 42500 megahertz. Spectrum made available on or after Feb. 11, 2016, may be included in the requirements outlined in Sec. 703 (Sec. 604).
It would require the NTIA and FCC, within 24 months, to issue a report to Congress evaluating the feasibility of allowing commercial wireless services, licensed or unlicensed, to share use of the frequencies between 3100 and 3550 megahertz, and, within 18 months, to release a report on the feasibility to share use between 3700 and 4200 megahertz.
The reports would include: an assessment of the operations of federal entities that operate federal government stations; an assessment of the possible impacts of such sharing on existing federal and non-federal users; and the criteria required to ensure shared licensed or unlicensed services would not cause harm or interference to existing federal or non-federal users (Sec. 605).
The section would also amend the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, H.R. 3630 (112), — the provision was removed from the House-passed text of the FCC Reauthorization bill but was included in the omnibus package — to require executive agencies to approve or deny within 270 days an application for an easement, right-of-way or lease on federal property related to installation of a communications facility installation and notify the applicant of the grant or denial. The section also would have required coordination between NTIA, Cabinet departments, OMB and the General Services Administration to develop recommendations for tracking and expediting applications (Sec. 606).
The bill would require the Transportation secretary to facilitate the installation of broadband infrastructure by ensuring that states receiving federal-aid highway funds: identify a broadband utility coordinator to facilitate the broadband infrastructure right-of-way efforts within the state; register broadband infrastructure entities that seek to be included in those facilitation efforts; establish a process to electronically notify such entities of the state transportation improvement program on an annual basis; coordinate statewide telecommunication and broadband plans and state and local transportation and land use plans, including strategies to minimize repeated excavations that involve the installation of broadband (Sec. 607).
The bill would require the General Services Administration, in consultation with the commission chairman, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information, under secretary of Commerce for standards and technology and the OMB director, to study how to incentivize states and local governments to support communications facility installations and the feasibility of installing a voluntary database to submit installation information. (Sec. 608).
The Commerce Department would submit a report within two years detailing recommendations to incentivize a federal entity to relinquish, or share with federal or non-federal users, federal spectrum for commercial wireless broadband services (Sec. 609).
FCC and NTIA would conduct a study to determine the best means of providing federal entities flexible access to non-federal spectrum on a shared basis across a range of short-, mid-, and long-range time frames, including for intermittent purposes like emergency use (Sec. 610).
The FCC would be required to adopt rules that permit unlicensed services where feasible to use any frequencies that are designated as guard bands to protect frequencies allocated by competitive bidding if it would not cause harmful interference (Sec. 611).
The bill would require funds for the Spectrum Relocation Fund to be transferred when an auction is not intended to occur within an eight year period. Current law requires five years (Sec. 612).
The bill would also outline when the Director of OMB would be permitted to transfer funds at the request of eligible federal entities (Sec. 613).
It would require GAO, within one year of enactment, to assess the availability of broadband internet access using unlicensed spectrum and wireless networks in low-income neighborhoods (Sec. 615).
It would require the FCC to assess whether to establish a program, or modify existing programs, under which a licensee that receives a license for the exclusive use of spectrum in a specific geographic area may partition or disaggregate the license by sale or long-term lease to provide services consistent with the license and make unused spectrum available to unaffiliated small carriers with not more than 1,500 employees or other unaffiliated carriers to serve rural areas (Sec. 616).
The FCC would be required to ensure that its spectrum allocation and assignment efforts make available on an unlicensed basis radio frequency bands sufficient to meet demand for unlicensed wireless broadband operations if doing so is reasonable and in the public interest after considering the future needs of other spectrum users (Sec. 617).
The bill would require the FCC and NTIA, within 18 months, to develop a national plan for making additional radio frequency bands available for unlicensed or licensed by rule operations. NTIA and OMB would recommend changes to the Spectrum Relocation Fund designed to address costs incurred by federal entities and ensure the fund has sufficient funds (Sec. 618).
The measure incorporates language from H.R. 4190 (114) that would require the Commerce Department to conduct prize competitions, with no more than $5 million being awarded to winners, designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of technology that improves spectrum efficiency and is cost effective. The FCC would be required to publish a technical paper providing criteria for the competition (Sec. 619).
It also incorporates language from H.R. 1087 (114) that would prohibit a state or local jurisdiction from requiring a person who is not a resident of the state or jurisdiction or an entity having its principal place of business there to collect a tax, fee or surcharge imposed on the purchase or use of any wireless telecommunications service within the state unless the collection or remittance is in connection with a financial transaction (Sec. 620).
The legislation would clarify that each range of frequencies described in the title would include the upper and lower frequencies in the range (Sec. 621) and that nothing in the title would limit the implementation of the nationwide public safety broadband network (Sec. 622). The bill would also state that no additional funds are authorized to carry out this title (Sec. 623).
Kevin and Avonte’s Law (Division Q)
The package includes language from S. 2070 (115), which would update and extend a Justice Department program known as the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program. The bipartisan measure would allow the use of Justice Department grants for education programs to help prevent wandering by individuals in the Alzheimer's and autism communities and would also seek to use changes in technology to reunite caregivers with missing family members.
TARGET ACT (Division R)
Before it became the vehicle for the omnibus spending bill, H.R. 1625 was the TARGET ACT. This legislation, which passed both houses in different form, would express the sense of Congress that the State Department’s rewards program is a powerful tool in combating international crime and that State and federal law enforcement should work in concert to offer rewards that target human traffickers who prey on the most vulnerable people around the world. The definition of “transnational organized crime” would include severe forms of trafficking in persons involving at least one jurisdiction outside of the United States.
Other Matter (Division S)
Title I — Child Protection Improvements Act: The bill would include language similar to S. 705 (115) that would amend the 1993 National Child Protection Act to direct the Justice Department to establish a program to provide national criminal history background checks and criminal history reviews for individuals who apply to work or volunteer at organizations that serve children, the elderly or individuals with disabilities.
Title II — Save America’s Pastime Act: The package contains language similar to a bill from the previous Congress, H.R. 5580 (114), that would amend the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to exempt minor league baseball players from minimum wage and maximum hours requirements.
Title III — Keep Young Athletes Safe Act: It includes language similar to a bill, H.R. 5252 (115), that would authorize $2.5 million per year for five years for Justice Department grants to nonprofits in order to support oversight of the U.S. Olympic Committee and paralympic sports organizations to help safeguard amateur athletes from abuse.
Title IV — Consent of Congress to Amendments to the Constitution of the State of Arizona: The bill would give congressional approval to the constitutional amendments adopted by the Arizona Legislature via AZ HCR2001 (151), and Arizona voters via a May 17, 2016, referendum, that modified the state treasurer’s distribution formula of permanent trust land funds beginning in fiscal 2016.
Title V — Stop School Violence Act: The measure includes language from H.R. 4909 (115), which would boost a Justice Department school violence prevention program — a response to the school shooting that left 17 dead in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. It would authorize $75 million for fiscal 2018 and $100 million per year for fiscal 2019-2028 for an amended version of the Secure Our Schools grant program, which was enacted as a part of H.R. 3244 (106) after the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado to fund security measures such as metal detectors. It expired in 2009.
Title VI—Fix NICS Act: The bill includes language from S. 2135 (115), which would bolster a federal database, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, that is used to check the backgrounds of gun buyers. The provision would penalize federal agencies that fail to properly report relevant records and would incentivize states to improve their overall reporting. The bill would also direct more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.
The section would also permit the CDC to research gun violence by repealing the so-called Dickey Amendment, a law that has prohibited such research.
Title VII — State Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program: The bill would tweak a current abstinence education grant program to allow participating states to claim more funding dollars. Overall the measure would increase HHS funding for abstinence education to $25 million.
Title VIII — Small Business Credit Availability Act: The measure would incorporate a bill, H.R. 4267 (115), that would require the SEC to revise regulations that affect business development companies, which are companies that operate like mutual funds to invest in stocks of small private companies. The bill would raise the limits on the amount of leverage for a BDC if it met certain requirements. It would also nix the exclusion of a BDC from qualifying as a well-known seasoned issuer, which allows an issuer to register its securities under the Securities Act of 1933 on a shelf registration.
Title IX — Small Business Access to Capital After a Natural Disaster Act: The bill would include language from H.R. 4792 (115) that would expand the functions of the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation within the SEC to include uncovering issues that small businesses experience when affected by natural disasters and trying to secure access to capital. It would require the office to submit a report on these issues.
Title X — Taylor Force Act: The measure would incorporate language from H.R. 1164 (115) that would cease assistance for the West Bank and Gaza so long as they reward terrorists financially and the surviving members of suicide bombers. The title is named after former Army officer Taylor Force, who was murdered by a Palestinian in March 2016. It would also require the secretary of State to submit a report on how much the Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and family members of the deceased who commit acts of terrorism, among other things.
Title XI — FARM Act: The omnibus includes language from a measure, S. 2421 (115), introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) that would continue exempting farmers from reporting air emissions produced by animal waste.
Under Superfund law, farmers don’t have to report air pollution released by certain normal farm conditions, such as when manure is used to fertilize fields. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down that exemption last year, ruling that EPA lacks the authority to shield farms from a hazardous emissions regulation known as CERCLA.
Fischer’s FARM Act would maintain a 2008 exemption from CERCLA, following a lobbying campaign from farmers and ranchers who expressed concerns that they could get slapped with huge fines if they don’t accurately report air emissions, even though there isn’t a widely accepted way to calculate them.
Title XII — Tipped Employees: The bill includes a compromise aimed at preventing employers from stealing tips under a proposed Labor Department rule that would allow the redistribution of tip money to back-of-house workers. The language — brokered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — would give workers the right to sue employers for stolen wages, with damages. In addition, the Labor secretary would have the power to sue companies for stolen tips and impose civil penalties.
Title XIII—Revisions to Pass-Through Period and Payment Rules: For certain drugs and biologicals whose pass-through period ended Dec. 31, 2017, the bill would extend the pass-through period for two years, as well as make other changes.
Revenue Provisions (Division T)
A remedy for an unintended consequence of the Republican tax law, H.R. 1 (115), that gives farmers lucrative incentives to sell their products to agricultural cooperatives over other types of businesses, this division made it into the omnibus during the final rounds of negotiations among congressional leaders.
The key change would repeal the 20 percent deduction of gross sales to co-ops. The way the law is written, co-ops have an edge over other types of businesses: Farmers who sell their commodities to conglomerates or other companies not structured as co-ops can deduct only 20 percent of their net business income.
The language passed as part of the tax law is so lucrative that it can allow farmers who sell grain to cooperatives to avoid taxes entirely, and some private companies have started to create their own co-ops to stay on a level playing field. Although the problem has been nicknamed the "grain glitch," the tax provision also threatened to disrupt other markets like dairy, livestock and biofuels.
This division also includes language that would increase the state housing credit ceiling for calendar years 2018-2021 by 1.125 times the dollar amount in effect.
Democrats would also receive a “win” from the negotiations with a four-year expansion of tax incentives for low-income housing — the sort of temporary preference that could easily get extended again when the time comes, given how Congress has historically acted on those matters. The provisions would cost $2.8 billion, the Joint Committee on Taxation says. The Democrats' tax provision is designed to shore up the low-income housing credit in the wake of the new tax law. The program allows developers to sell the credits to raise money to build affordable housing. Those credits, many of which are purchased by banks to lower their tax bills, became less attractive since the recent corporate tax rate cut already reduced prospective buyers' tax liabilities.
Tax Technical Corrections (Division U)
The bill would make more than a dozen technical corrections to tax rules, partnership audit rules and other enacted legislation.
CLOUD Act (Division V)
The omnibus package includes language from a bill, S. 2383 (115), that would set up a legal framework for U.S. law enforcement to access data stored overseas through bilateral treaties.
The legislation also includes language that would block a cost-of-living salary increase for members of Congress in fiscal 2018, as well as a provision to provide $174,000 to the heir of recently deceased Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
What’s not in the bill? The following provisions were floated as possible riders but ultimately were not added to the omnibus package:
— Border wall: The package does include $1.6 billion for border security, but Trump had hoped to secure $25 billion to begin construction on his border wall. Democrats demanded other conditions.
— DREAMers: GOP leaders demanded that any deportation relief for young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, be kept out of the spending bill.
— Internet sales tax: Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) pushed for a national sales tax on online retailers, though it has run into fierce conservative opposition. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the House's chief deputy whip, signaled March 20 that Noem's measure would not be included in the omnibus and had not had enough vetting.
— Medicare Part D coverage gap: Drugmakers pushed Congress to lower their share of a drug's costs in the coverage gap phase of Part D to 60 percent.
— Joint employer: Language to narrow the legal definition of joint employment was nixed.
— Sexual harassment overhaul: Both parties had once hoped to include a broadly bipartisan plan to overhaul Congress' antiquated workplace rules. Lawmakers and aides who shepherded the House version of the bill to passage earlier this year had eyed legislation keeping the government funded as the best chance to get Congress' own rules reformed before the midterm elections.
WHAT ARE MEMBERS SAYING ABOUT THE BILL?
“The legislation approved today is the result of thousands of hours of work starting one year ago," said House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) on March 22. "It reflects hard-fought, bipartisan and bicameral negotiations that were done in good faith and in the best interest of the American people."
House Appropriations ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said during a March 22 floor speech that the measure was stripped of a number of controversial provisions.
“This bill rejects scores of divisive poison pill riders targeting women’s health, clean air and water, worker rights, consumer financial protections, health insurance and other critical priorities.”
But Lowey said the bill was a compromise.
“To be clear, this omnibus is not a perfect product. I strongly object to the majority’s fixation on walling off our southern border, and building capacity to arrest and detain immigrants.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said passage of the omnibus package was vital for "rebuilding" the Pentagon, which Republicans and Trump claim was neglected during the Obama era. Ryan has been pushing the military funding issue hard throughout the budget fight.
"This bill starts construction on the wall. It turns the Gateway decision over to the Trump administration. It funds our war on opioids. It invests in infrastructure. It funds school safety and mental health," Ryan said at a press conference on March 22. "But what this bill is ultimately about — what we fought for for so long — is finally giving our military the tools and the resources it needs to do the job."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who voted for the measure’s passage, touted language crafted by House Democrats that was incorporated into the bill.
“Democrats won explicit language restricting border construction to the same see-through fencing that was already authorized under current law. The bill does not allow any increase in deportation officers or detention beds. We are disappointed that we did not reach agreement on Dreamer protections that were worthy of these patriotic young people. We will continue to ask the Speaker to give us a vote to protect Dreamers and honor our values,” she said in a press release.
“This spending bill scales up research, treatment and prevention funding and provides grants to first responders to help confront the scourge of the #OpioidEpidemic head-on and help save lives. For rural communities, like many in #Kentucky, this is a big deal.”
McConnell also touted a number of domestic programs that the bill would address.
“It's time to rebuild America's crumbling #infrastructure, and the spending bill will help accomplish just that. It will fund long-overdue improvements to roads, rails, airports and inland waterways, creating #jobs and growing our #economy along the way.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a press release said, “Every bill takes compromise, and there was plenty here, but at the end of the day we Democrats feel very good because so many of our priorities for the middle class were included. From opioid funding to rural broadband, and from student loans to child care, this bill puts workers and families first.”
The “wait, what’s in this bill?” camp: The House Freedom Caucus criticized the measure and, with the help of House Democrats, nearly derailed a House procedural motion to move to the bill March 22.
Even after House passage, the caucus urged the president to reject the bill. "Mr. President, we urge you to remember the countless forgotten men and women of America who placed their faith in you to change business as usual in Washington, D.C.,” the caucus said in a statement. “We urge you to join us and reject this omnibus."
In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also lambasted Congress for considering the measure under such short notice.
“Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses — and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. 2200 pages, with just hours to try to read it.” Paul wrote on Twitter.
He also criticized his party for crafting the legislation in a way that catered to Democrats.
“It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni...wait, what?”
WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR?
On Feb. 9 Trump signed into law a bipartisan budget package, H.R. 1892 (115), which ended a short-lived shutdown and funded the government through March 23. The measure also boosted federal spending by about $300 billion over two years, lifted the debt ceiling until March 2019 and provided $90 billion in disaster aid.
Over the six-week period following enactment of that fifth fiscal 2018 government funding extension, Congress worked on an omnibus measure to extend funding through the end of the fiscal year. With the March 23 deadline approaching, House leaders released the omnibus text on March 21 around 8 p.m. The House Rules Committee then convened at 10 p.m. and prepped the bill for floor action.
On March 22, as the House was set to begin debate on the rule, Pelosi urged her fellow Democrats to vote against the resolution as a protest against congressional leaders’ failing to secure protections for DREAMers in the funding bill.
While Pelosi supported the overall spending package — she and other Democrats bragged that they defeated many "poison pill" riders sought by Republicans — the California Democrat was unhappy that there was no action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The rule nearly failed on the floor. The House voted 211-207 to adopt the resolution, H. Res. 796 (115). Only one Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), voted for the rule, while 25 Republicans opposed it.
The House then passed the bill 256-167, with 77 Democrats and 90 Republicans opposing passage. A majority of members from each party supported the bill, with 145 Republicans and 111 Democrats voting to advance it.
The Senate: The bill — which had broad bipartisan support in both chambers — was held up for hours in the Senate by several individual members who objected to pieces of the bill.
That included an eleventh-hour gripe by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who demanded a tweak in the bill to ensure a national forest in his home state would not be renamed after a former political rival, according to multiple aides.
Senate GOP leaders ultimately agreed to extract the naming provision from the spending bill, but the House would specifically need to approve that change before Trump signs the bill, which one aide said was unlikely. Without specific approval from the House, the initial version of the omnibus would become law, over Risch’s objections.
Paul was viewed as possibly aiming to shut the government down again, as he did briefly in February by refusing to let Senate leaders expedite consideration of the funding bill, but he relented late on March 22 after a private conversation with McConnell. Paul called the bill “budget-busting” and a return to “Obama spending and trillion-dollar deficits.”
Shortly after midnight, the Senate voted to limit debate on the bill and then passed the bill 65-32, less than 24 hours before funding would expire.
Trump has endorsed the measure and administration officials have said he will sign it once it reaches his desk.