H.R. 1625 – Vehicle for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018
Background: Funding for fiscal year 2018 is currently provided through Friday, March 23, 2018.
Floor Situation: The Senate will consider H.R. 1625 when it is received from the House.
Executive Summary: The bill provides budget authority for fiscal year 2018 totaling $1.3 trillion. It also includes Overseas Contingency Operations requirements of $78.1 billion. The funding provided is consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which increased discretionary spending caps by $143 billion in fiscal year 2018.
Legislative text is available here. Explanatory statements are available here. A summary of policy provisions included in the omnibus is available here. The Senate Appropriations Committee has summaries of the appropriations divisions here.
The CBO score is available here.
NOTABLE BILL PROVISIONS
Division A – Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA
The division provides $23.26 billion in discretionary funding. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $122.8 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division B – Commerce, Justice, Science
The division provides $59.6 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division C – Department of Defense
The division provides $589.5 billion in base funding and $65.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding. The division provides the Department of Defense with a more than $61 billion increase from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The division includes a 2.4 percent pay raise for troops. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division D – Energy and Water Development
This division provides $43.2 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division E – Financial Services and General Government
This division provides $23.4 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
This division provides $1 billion in funding for broadcasters to relocate to new spectrum following spectrum auctions. This is $600 million in fiscal year 2018 and $400 million in fiscal year 2019.
Division F – Homeland Security
This division provides $55.6 billion for DHS, $6.3 billion more than the 2017 level. The division includes $1.57 billion for physical barriers on the southern border. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division G – Interior and Environment
This division provides $35.3 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division H – Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
This division provides $177.1 billion in base discretionary funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
School safety: Title III provides $1.1 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, $700 million more than in fiscal year 2017. States can use these flexible K-12 education grants for school safety and health activities, including drug and violence prevention and in-school mental health services. Non-safety uses for the funds include technology in classrooms and STEM education.
Opioids: The entire omnibus bill provides more than $4.65 billion in funding to combat the opioid crisis ($3.6 billion of this is found in Division H). This is a $3 billion (192 percent) increase over fiscal year 2017. These funds are allocated to various agencies for prevention, treatment, and enforcement activities related to substance abuse. This includes grants to states and localities to fund activities related to the opioid epidemic. Funding for research on the causes of opioid addiction and alternative pain management options is also increased.
Division I – Legislative Branch
The division provides $4.7 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division J – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
This division provides $92.7 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal year 2018. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division K – State and Foreign Operations
This division provides $54 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division L – Transportation and HUD
This division provides $70.3 billion in discretionary spending. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary is available here.
Division M – Extensions
Title I of this division extends the authorization for Federal Aviation Administration programs, aviation excise taxes and related fees, and authority to spend money out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund through September 30, 2018. The current FAA authorization expires March 31.
Title II of this division reauthorizes the Conrad 30 Waiver Program through the end of fiscal year 2018. Doctors coming to the U.S. for graduate medical education or training under the J-1 exchange visitor program are generally barred from applying for immigrant visas, permanent residence, or H or L non-immigrant status until they spend at least two years in their home country after completing the J-1 program. The Conrad 30 Waiver Program allows this two-year foreign-residency requirement to be waived for doctors who will be employed in H-1B status in medically underserved areas.
Title II of this division reauthorizes the EB-5 regional center program through the end of fiscal year 2018. The EB-5 program allocates green cards to foreign nationals who invest at least $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in some cases) in certain U.S. businesses. A “regional center” is defined as “an economic unit, public or private, that promotes economic growth, regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.” Applicants for EB-5 visas who are participating in the regional center program are given priority and have more relaxed job-creation requirements than other EB-5 applicants.
Title II of this division increases the cap on H-2B temporary non-agriculture worker visas through 2018. It allows the Department of Homeland Security – upon a determination with the Department of Labor that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal 2018 with U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary non-agricultural labor – to issue additional H-2B visas.
Title II of this division reauthorizes the E-Verify program through the end of fiscal year 2018. E-Verify is a voluntary system for employers to use for electronically verifying employees’ employment eligibility.
Title II of this division reauthorizes the non-minister special immigrant religious workers visa program through the end of fiscal year 2018. The special immigrant religious worker program provides green cards to religious workers, including ministers. Although the part of the program that provides green cards to ministers is permanent, the part of the program that provides green cards to up to 5,000 non-minister religious workers is set to expire on March 23.
Title III of this division reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides federally backed flood insurance, through July 31, 2018. The current authorization expires on March 23.
Title IV of this division continues authorization for the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act through the end of the fiscal year. The bill would also contain some simple reforms for the program, such as allowing priority processing of pesticide use applications for pesticides targeting pests that affect public health.
Title V of this division extends the Generalized System of Preferences, which allows the United States to grant preferential tariff treatment to imports from the least developed countries. Without GSP, preferential tariffs for such countries would violate trade treaties with more developed nations.
Division N – BUILD Act
This division reauthorizes the EPA’s Brownfields Program, which provides grants to state and local entities to clean up and reuse abandoned or under-utilized land. The legislation includes reforms to improve the program's effectiveness.
Division O – Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act
This division creates a new wildfire suppression adjustment to budget caps. Beginning in fiscal year 2020, budget caps may be adjusted if wildfire suppression funding is enacted. The adjustment is limited to $2.25 billion in fiscal year 2020, $2.35 billion in 2021, then rising by $100 million per year until reaching a limit on adjustments of $2.95 billion in 2027.
This division contains several provisions to help reduce catastrophic forest fires. These reforms generally aim to reduce the regulatory burden that prevents clearing underbrush and vegetation that can fuel such fires.
Division P – RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018
This division includes RAY BAUM’s Act of 2018, which reauthorizes the Federal Communications Commission for fiscal year 2019 and 2020. The legislation, which passed the House by voice vote and was a bipartisan and bicameral effort, would be the first reauthorization of the commission since 1990. It contains provisions from the Senate-passed MOBILE NOW Act to accelerate the deployment of wireless broadband, and other provisions to improve FCC oversight, combat caller ID spoofing, and allow more efficient spectrum auctions.
Division Q – Kevin and Avonte’s Law
This division includes Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2017, which would create a grant program for state and local agencies to develop and implement programs to prevent wandering by and locate missing people with dementia or developmental disabilities. It would also direct the Department of Justice to “establish standards and best practices relating to the use of non-invasive and non-permanent tracking technology, where a guardian or parent has determined that a non-invasive and non-permanent tracking device is the least restrictive alternative,” to locate people with dementia or developmental disabilities.
Division R – TARGET Act
This is the underlying bill, the Targeted Rewards for the Global Eradication of Human Trafficking Act. The TARGET Act would expand the State Department rewards program to include rewards targeting severe human trafficking.
Division S – Other Matter
Title I of Division S includes the Child Protection Improvements Act, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent on October 16, 2017. The legislation would create a voluntary federal background check system for people who work or volunteer with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
Title III of Division S includes the Keep Young Athletes Safe Act, which establishes a grant program in the Department of Justice to support efforts by organizations to oversee the U.S. Olympic Committee and other governing bodies regarding prevention of abuse.
Title V includes the STOP School Violence Act, which reauthorizes the Department of Justice’s Secure Our Schools grants, which will be administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the COPS Office. Eligible uses of the grants include violence prevention training for students, teachers, and law enforcement; physical security infrastructure in schools; and training for school personnel in how to handle mental health crises. It authorizes $75 million for fiscal year 2018 and $100 million each for fiscal years 2019 through 2028.
Title VI of Division S includes the Fix NICS Act, which would require federal agencies to certify semiannually that they are complying with their requirement to submit quarterly reports to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System of people legally barred from owning firearms. It would also reauthorize the National Criminal History Improvement Program and take steps to increase information sharing between the states and federal government.
Title VIII of division S includes provisions from the Small Business Credit Availability Act, which streamlines the reporting, capital, offering, and proxy rules applied to business development companies. Business development companies are entities that issue shares and hold interests in smaller companies.
Title IX of Division S includes the Small Business Access to Capital After a Natural Disaster Act, which passed the House by voice vote, would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission advocate for small business capital formation to identify unique problems faced by small businesses affected by hurricanes or other natural disasters.
Title XIII extends pass through status from 3 years to 5 years for certain drugs and biologics for which not enough data has yet been collected to allow the drug to be priced properly by Medicare, increasing the amount Medicare pays to providers for such drugs.
Title XI continues an EPA exemption supported by the Bush and Obama administrations that relieved farms of the need to report on low-level livestock emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. The D.C. Circuit recently overturned the exemption, causing confusion and waste as many farms tried to figure out how to measure and report livestock emissions.
Title XII amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and clarifies that employers are prohibited from keeping any portion of tips earned by any employee and using them for any purpose. It imposes a penalty for employers in violation of the law and makes them liable for the tips they kept. This section nullifies relevant portions of a 2011 Labor Department rule until the department takes further action.
Division T – Revenue Provisions
This division fixes the so-called “grain glitch” in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The tax law unintentionally treated similarly situated taxpayers significantly differently depending on whether they were dealing with farm cooperatives when compared to other farm business organizations. It also enhances the low-income housing credit by increasing by 12.5 percent the total credit allocation for calendar years 2018 through 2021, and modifying the income averaging test.
Division U – Tax Technical Corrections
This division includes technical corrections to the tax code.
Division V – CLOUD Act
This division includes the CLOUD Act, legislation regarding cross-border data protection. It would specify how U.S. law enforcement can access data stored abroad, the subject of ongoing litigation now in the Supreme Court. It would also authorize the president to enter into executive agreements regarding cross-border data sharing between governments.
A Statement of Administration Policy is not available at this time, but on Wednesday the White House press secretary expressed the president’s support for the bill.
The bill provides budget authority for fiscal year 2018 totaling $1.3 trillion. It also includes Overseas Contingency Operations requirements of $78.1 billion. The funding provided is consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which increased discretionary spending caps by $143 billion in fiscal year 2018.
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