January 23, 2019

End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act

NOTEWORTHY

Background: Seventy-five percent of fiscal year 2019 discretionary appropriations have been enacted. A partial shutdown that started on December 22, 2018, has affected departments and agencies funded by the other 25 percent. On January 19, 2019, President Trump announced this proposal to reopen the government and provide for border security. The Senate Appropriations Committee released the End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act on January 21.   

Floor Situation: H.R. 268 is the vehicle for considering the End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act as an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Senate is expected to vote on cloture on the measure on January 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Executive Summary: The bill would reopen the government by providing budget authority for the seven outstanding fiscal year 2019 appropriations measures. It reflects conference negotiations done before the shutdown. It provides $12.7 billion in aid for communities affected by natural disasters. It fully funds the president’s $5.7 billion request for construction of a physical barrier along the southern border; this is intended to be used to build approximately 234 miles of border barriers. This will complete the 10 most urgent priorities U.S. Customs and Border Protection has identified for additional barriers. The bill provides provisional protected status for three years for people currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as “temporary protected status” beneficiaries from Central America. It also caps grants of asylum for children from Central America for the next three years and requires them to apply for asylum in Central America rather than the United States.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has text, explanatory statements, and summaries of each part of the bill available here

OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

About 75 percent of fiscal year 2019 discretionary funding has been enacted. A partial government shutdown began on December 22, 2018, when a continuing resolution for the remaining 25 percent of appropriations expired. Affected departments and agencies have been operating under contingency plans for a lapse in appropriations. The president has said that additional funding to secure the southern U.S. border must be in any bill to re-open these parts of the government. 

NOTABLE BILL PROVISIONS

Division A – Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration

Appropriates $23 billion in discretionary funding. Here is the Appropriations Committee summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

  1. $550 million for a rural broadband pilot grant/loan program to develop broadband internet service in areas currently lacking access.

  2. $3 billion for agricultural research.

  3. $3 billion for rural development, equal to the enacted fiscal year 2018 funding level.

  4. $3.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Food and Drug Administration. Prohibits use of funds for research or clinical applications where a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification.

  5. $47 million in base funding for regulatory science, enforcement, and innovation to fight the opioid epidemic. Another $16 million is provided for distance learning and telemedicine grants to help rural communities deal with the opioid crisis.

  6. $73.5 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, almost all of which is mandatory funding. It is a $536 million decrease from fiscal year 2018.

  7. $23 billion in mandatory funding for children’s nutrition programs.

Division B – Commerce, Justice, Science

Appropriates $64.1 billion in discretionary funding. Here is the Appropriations Committee summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

  1. $30.9 billion for the Department of Justice, including 2 to 3 percent increases for federal law enforcement agencies: FBI; DEA; ATF; U.S. Marshals Service; and Bureau of Prisons.

  2. $563 million for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a $59 million increase over fiscal year 2018 to help reduce the immigration court backlog.

  3. $29.6 billion for science programs, including $21.5 billion for NASA, which is a 3.7 percent increase from fiscal year 2018. It also has an increase of $308 million for the National Science Foundation, or a 4 percent increase from fiscal year 2018.

  4. $11.4 billion for the Department of Commerce, including $5.4 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $3.8 billion for the Census Bureau, and $30 million in grants to assist troubled coal mining communities.

Division C – Financial Services and General Government

Appropriates $23.4 billion in discretionary funding. Here is the Appropriations summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

  1. $215 million for Treasury’s departmental offices.

  2. $159 million for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, $17 million above last year’s level, for issuing sanctions and going after terrorism financing.

  3. $11.3 billion for the Internal Revenue Service. $77 million is set-aside for tax reform implementation.

  4. $739 million for the Executive Office of the President, $13 million more than last year.

  5. $7.3 billion for all federal courts activities of the Judiciary, or $138 million more than last year.

  6. Independent agencies funded in this division include the Commodity Futures Trading Commission at $268 million; the Securities and Exchange Commission at $1.7 billion; and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at $127 million.

  7. It prohibits a CPSC rulemaking this fiscal year related to recreational off-highway vehicles until the National Academy of Sciences completes its study of the issue.

  8. Includes a prohibition on any SEC rulemaking that requires the disclosure of political contributions, trade association dues, or contributions to any tax-exempt organizations in SEC filings.

Division D – Homeland Security

Appropriates $70.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Here is the Appropriations summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

Customs and Border Protection

  1. $5.7 billion for additional physical barrier system due to increased migrant flow from Central America. Completes the 10 most urgent areas identified by CBP in the Border Security Improvement Plan submitted to Congress last year. President Trump stated on January 19, 2019, that the funds would be used to build approximately 234 miles of steel barriers along our southern border.

  2. 375 additional new border patrol agents, in addition to the 375 new agents included in the Senate Appropriations Committee bill.

  3. $800 million to address the humanitarian needs, including improved processing facilities and medical professionals at the border.

  4. $631 million above the original Senate Appropriations Committee bill for non-intrusive drug detection at ports of entry, for a total of $805 million to stop drugs and weapons from entering through the southern border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  1. $1.4 billion over fiscal year 2018 levels for a total of $8.5 billion in funding for ICE for fiscal year 2019. Additional funding provided to ICE to hire 2,000 new immigration enforcement personnel and to grow to 52,000 detention beds, an increase of 11,480 beds.

Coast Guard

  1. $11.9 billion for Coast Guard personnel, operations, maintenance, and acquisition of new ships, an increase of $496 million over the president’s budget request.

  2. $750 million requested by the president for a new class of heavy polar icebreakers.

United States Secret Service

  1. $2.2 billion for operations and for increased capability and preparation for the 2020 presidential campaign. Provides funds to pay overtime accumulated by Secret Service agents in calendar year 2018, as authorized by law.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

  1. $15.5 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to assist with expenses resulting from recent wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters, as well as disasters that may occur in 2019.

Division E – Interior and Environment

Appropriates a total of $35.6 billion in discretionary funding. Here is the Appropriations summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

  1. $3.9 billion for wildland fire programs, including $624 million to reduce hazardous fuels that feed fires.

  2. $6.1 billion for the U.S. Forest Service.

  3. $1.6 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

  4. $3.2 billion for the National Park Service.

  5. $31 million in increased funding for energy and mineral development, including drafting the new five-year offshore leasing plan.

Division F – State and Foreign Operations

Appropriates $54.2 billion for the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other related agencies, including $8 billion for “overseas contingency operations”. Here is the Appropriations Committee summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

International Security Assistance

  1. $9.2 billion for international security assistance, including $6.2 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program. Assistance to Israel is increased by $200 million over last year’s bill, for a total of $3.3 billion.

Humanitarian Assistance

  1. $3.4 billion for migration and refugee assistance and $4.4 billion for international disaster assistance.

Palestinian Authority

  1. Maintains prohibitions on U.S. taxpayer-funded aid for the Palestinian Authority, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

Safeguarding the Right to Life

  1. Maintains the “Helms amendment” banning the use of foreign aid funding for abortions; ensures family planning programs funded through the bill are voluntary; and prohibits funding of organizations the president determines support coercive abortions and involuntary sterilization.

Division G – Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

Appropriates $71.1 billion in discretionary funding. Just as last year’s bill did, it includes a $10 billion increase above fiscal year 2017 levels for infrastructure programs. Here is the Appropriations Committee summary and explanatory statement.

The division provides:

Transportation

  1. $900 million for National Infrastructure Investments, also called BUILD grants, which are for highway, bridge, trail, transit, and port projects. It continues to preclude the Department of Transportation from using an applicant’s federal cost-share or non-federal revenue as criteria.

  2. $49.3 billion for Federal Highway Administration programs out of the Highway Trust Fund and general fund.

  3. $17.5 billion for Federal Aviation Administration programs, out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the general fund. It provides for a $3.35 billion limit on obligations for grants to airports for runway, airfield, and other improvements; it is level with last year.

  4. $2.9 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, including $1.9 billion for Amtrak.

  5. $13.4 billion out of Highway Trust Fund and general fund for the Federal Transit Administration. Of this, $2.6 billion is for capital investment grants for constructing or improving fixed guideway rail or bus rapid transit systems.

  6. $1.1 billion for the Maritime Administration, which includes $300 million to design and construct a new vessel for state maritime academies.

Housing and Urban Development

  1. $22.6 billion, or $583 million over last year’s level, for the Section 8 tenant-based voucher program that gives families rental assistance in the private rental market.

  2. $11.7 billion, an increase of $232 million from last year, for Section 8 project-based rental assistance, which provides subsidized housing non-profit and private landlords.

  3. $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants.

  4. $1.3 billion for the Home Investment Partnerships program. 

Division H – Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief, 2019

Provides $12.7 billion in emergency funding through a variety of agencies and programs, to assist areas damaged and affected by natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, and typhoons. Here is the Appropriations Committee summary

The division provides:

  1. $3 billion for farm disaster assistance through USDA to cover losses.

  2. $600 million for Economic Development Administration grants to communities.

  3. $720 million for the U.S. Forest Services for activities related to fiscal year 2018 wildfires.

Division I – Extensions, Technical Corrections, and Other Matters  

  1. Includes extensions through the end of fiscal year 2019 for the Violence Against Women Act and two provisions of the Pandemic All Hazards Preparedness Act.

  2. Includes these immigration extensions: EB-5; E-Verify; Conrad 30 program for international medical school graduates; Special Immigrant Religious Workers program; and H2B returning worker authority for DHS.

  3. Extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program through June 30, 2019.

  4. Subtracts future discretionary amounts appropriated out of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, up to the amount of the prior year’s trust fund receipts, from the budget authority and outlays estimate of a future appropriations act, which effectively exempts those amounts from statutory discretionary spending caps.

  5. Increases oversight over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by establishing an inspector general.

Division J – Vulnerable Immigrants Protection and Security Act

The division allows current DACA recipients to receive a three-year provisional protected presence and employment reauthorization. It is a revised version of the BRIDGE Act, which was introduced in the 114th and 115th Congresses and would have granted provisional protected status to as many as 1.8 million people who are eligible for DACA.  Status would be granted to currently enrolled DACA recipients, of whom there are roughly 700,000.

Division K – Provisional Protected Presence for Certain Aliens in the United States Who Previously Received Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status is accorded to people in the United States who cannot safely return to their country of citizenship because of conditions such as armed conflict or environmental disaster. TPS beneficiaries are not removable from the United States and can obtain a work permit. They also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of immigration status.

There are TPS recipients in the United States from 10 countries: El Salvador; Haiti; Honduras; Nepal; Nicaragua; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Syria; and Yemen. The overwhelming majority of TPS recipients are from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, or Nicaragua. TPS status for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador is the subject of ongoing litigation, and DHS has been enjoined from terminating TPS status for those countries. TPS status for Honduras is set to expire on January 5, 2020.

The division provides three years of provisional protected presence for TPS recipients from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, or Nicaragua who:

  1. register with the federal government;

  2. pass security and law enforcement background checks;

  3. pay an application fee;

  4. have not committed a felony or other serious crime and do not pose a threat to the country; and

  5. have continually resided in the United States since January 1, 2011.

Division L – Protection of Central American Minors 

This division requires asylum-seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras who are younger than 18 years old to apply for asylum outside of the United States at a designated application processing center (e.g., a consulate or embassy) in Central America. It also caps asylum grants for those people at no more than 15,000 in any fiscal year. As of April 2018, there were 76,634 pending asylum cases for unaccompanied children.

Asylum seekers from those countries under the age of 18 who have been previously removed from the United States or convicted of a federal, state, or local crime punishable by a term more than one year are not eligible for asylum. Additionally, the asylum-seeker must have a qualified parent or guardian in the United States capable of taking custody of the minor upon arrival in the U.S.

This rule would stay in effect for three years from enactment.

The division also creates a higher standard to bar and penalize asylum applications from any country that are deemed frivolous, including those that fail to comply with application time limits. 

ADMINISTRATION POSITION

The president announced his support for this proposal on Saturday, January 19. The White House released this fact sheet on the package. The administration has released a statement of administration policy in support of the measure.

COST

As of publication, the Congressional Budget Office has not released a cost estimate.

AMENDMENTS

There is a filing deadline for first degree amendments at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, January 23, and the filing deadline for second degree amendments will be on Thursday, January 24.