THE BIG DEAL

SPECIAL POST

Congress finally reached a deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.  Unfortunately, the legislation (HR 2775) only funds the government until January 15, 2014 and only extends the US borrowing authority until February 7, 2014. In the meantime, the House and Senate will hold a budget conference, hoping to hash out their differences.  The participants include three House Democrats, four House Republicans, and all Members of the Senate Budget Committee.  Given that many of the Republicans on this conference committee voted against the recent compromise bill, major obstacles to an agreement remain. 

Look for the next Federal Policy Week posting for more analysis on the impacts of the deal, status of the conference, and other activities in DC.  In the meantime, below is a section-by-section summary description of the actual legislation to extend funding.  Some highlights include:

  1. Section 106: The expiration date for funding is January 15, 2014.
  2. Sections 109 & 110: Limit agencies abilities to forward fund projects and contracts so as to allow Congress to still cut funding.
  3. Section 115: Retroactive pay for federal workers.
  4. Section 121: Provides funding for weather satellites to enable them to maintain launch schedules.
  5. Section 123: Provides billions for a dam project in Kentucky (Senator McConnell earmark – more details).
  6. Section 135: Extends Reaction Fee Program (Interior – for National Parks) for entire fiscal year.
  7. Section 145: Extends definition of “highly qualified teachers” to benefit Teach for America’s otherwise not eligible staff (read more).

Section-by-Section Summary of FY 2014 Continuing Resolution
(funding through January 15, 2014)
Basic Funding Provisions

  • SECTION 101:  Provides for the continuation of funding for all federal programs that were funded in the FY 2013 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-6), except as otherwise provided in specific provisions of the resolution.  This continuation covers programs normally included in all 12 regular appropriations bills. Funding is continued at the 2013 enacted level, as reduced by sequestration, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) at $986.3 billion. Funding under the CR is provided under the same terms and conditions as in FY 2013, except that section 735 of the FY 2013 Agriculture appropriations bill (related to genetically modified crops) will not apply.
  • SECTION 102: Prohibits the Department of Defense from engaging in new starts and new multi-year procurements.
  • SECTION 103:  Specifies that appropriations under this CR shall be available to the extent and in the manner that would be provided by the pertinent appropriations Act.
  • SECTION 104:  Prohibits use of funds in this CR for new starts or to resume any project or activity for which appropriations were not available during FY 2013.
  • SECTION 105:  Provides that the CR shall be considered to cover all obligations and expenditures made under its terms during the period it is in effect.
  • SECTION 106:  Specifies that funding provided by the CR terminates on January 15, 2014, or, if earlier, upon enactment of the applicable regular appropriations bill.
  • SECTION 107:  Requires expenditures under the CR to be charged against the applicable regular appropriations bills once those bills are enacted.
  • SECTION 108:  Waives (as is customarily done for CRs) various time limits for submission and approval of apportionments of funds by OMB.
  • SECTION 109:  States that, for programs which would normally have high initial rates of operation or complete distribution of funds at the start of the fiscal year, such high rates of operation or complete distributions should not be undertaken under the CR and that no grants should be awarded for such programs that would impinge on final funding prerogatives.
  • SECTION 110:  Requires the CR to be implemented so that only the most limited funding action of that permitted by the CR shall be taken.
  • SECTION 111:  Allows entitlements and similar programs that received mandatory appropriations in FY 2013 to continue at the funding level needed to maintain benefits under current law through the termination date of the CR (and for benefits due on or about the first day of the following month).
  • SECTION 112:  Permits funds to be spent at greater than the proportional annual rate under the CR if doing so is necessary to avoid furloughs of personnel, provided that all necessary actions to reduce or defer other administrative expenses are taken first.
  • SECTION 113:  Provides the specific authorization needed under current law to continue to expend funds during the CR period for intelligence activities, the State Department, and international assistance programs.
  • SECTION 114:  Designates, for purposes of the Budget Control Act, certain amounts in the CR as being for overseas contingency operations, disaster relief, or program integrity, if they had been similarly designated in the FY 2013 appropriations legislation.
  • SECTION 115:  Provides that any Federal employees, District of Columbia employees, employees of the District of Columbia Courts, and employees of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia furloughed as a result of the shutdown will be paid and that those excepted employees who worked during the shutdown will be paid.
  • SECTION 116:  Provides for reimbursement (with interest) to states and to other federal grantees that used their own funds to continue carrying out a federal program during the lapse in appropriations, to the extent that the expenses would have been paid by the federal government if there had not been a lapse in appropriations.  Also provides for compensation (at their standard rate) of any state or grantee employees whose compensation is normally paid or advanced by the federal government but who were furloughed during the lapse in appropriations, and for reimbursement to the state or other grantee for the cost of such compensation.
  • SECTION 117:  Requires that expenditures made pursuant to the Pay our Military Act (P.L. 113-39) shall be charged to the applicable funding included in the CR.
  • SECTION 118:  Specifies that the time covered by this CR shall be considered to have begun on October 1, 2013 (thus making various extensions and other provisions of the CR retroactive to that date).
  • SECTION 119:  Extends provisions included in the FY 2013 consolidated appropriations legislation requiring agency heads to submit reports to their Inspectors General regarding the details of conferences held for which federal costs exceed certain thresholds.

Additional Provisions: In addition to ending the government shutdown and lifting the debt limit, the bill also includes provisions addressing specific situations, often referred to as funding anomalies.  In many cases these extend provisions of law needed to allow certain federal operations and programs to continue.  Other provisions increase the operating rate under the CR in order to accommodate current caseloads, alleviate shortfalls, or meet unusual needs.  Unless otherwise noted, all of the following sections apply only through the general termination date of the CR, which is January 15, 2014.

  • SECTION 120 – Food for Peace:  Extends the authorization for the Food for Peace program through the duration of the Continuing Resolution.
  • SECTION 121 – Weather satellites: Allows funds for critical weather satellites to be apportioned up to the rate necessary to maintain their launch schedules.
  • SECTION 122 – Extending defense operations authorizations:  Extends the authorization of sections 1205(Rescue Operations) and 1206 (Counter-Lord’s Resistance Army Military Support) of the NDAA FY 2012 for an additional three months.
  • SECTION 123 – Olmstead Lock and Dam Project:  Provides authority to continue the Corps of Engineers’ Olmstead Lock and Dam project. Without the increased authority, the project will be terminated. Restarting the project would result in an additional cost to taxpayers of $80 million over the next six months or $160 million if project were terminated for one year.
  • SECTION 124 – Appalachian Regional Commission: Extends the authorization for the Appalachian Regional Commission through the period of the CR. The authorization expired on October 1, 2012.
  • SECTION 125 – Judiciary: Appropriates an additional $25 million for the Judiciary to avoid further staffing losses in clerks of court and probation and pretrial services offices and for other needs.  Transfer authority is also provided to give the Judiciary the ability to address needs that might arise in areas such as court security and the payment of jurors.
  • SECTION 126 – Defender services: Appropriates an additional $26 million for the Judiciary’s Defender Services to make payments due to Federal Public Defenders.
  • SECTION 127 – District of Columbia local funds: Allows the District of Columbia to spend its local funds collected through DC taxes and other non-Federal sources through the end of the fiscal year.
  • SECTION 128 – Universal Service Fee: Extends the Universal Service Fund (USF) exemption from the Anti-deficiency Act.  Otherwise, consumers would very likely see their phone rates increase for the USF by at least 30 percent.  The fund covers broadband expansion to rural areas, schools, and libraries, and telephone service to low-income people.
  • SECTION 129 – Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board:  Appropriates an additional $2 million for the newly constituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board for staff and operational costs to stand up the board.
  • SECTION 130 – Expenditure plan: Requires the Department of Homeland Security to submit a copy of the expenditure plan required under the CR to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the House Committee on Homeland Security.
  • SECTION 131 – Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards:  Extends the authorization for the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program through the end date of the CR.
  • SECTION 132 – U.S. Secret Service: Extends authority for the U.S. Secret Service to use the proceeds derived from criminal investigations to further undercover investigative operations through the end date of the CR.
  • SECTION 133- Special acquisition authority: Extends special acquisition authority, such as “other transaction authority,” for research and development activities at the Department of Homeland Security, facilitating the Department’s ability to work with non-traditional Government contractors.
  • SECTION 134 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Permits the obligation of funds at operational rates needed to: (1) sustain the staffing levels of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including a floor of 21,370 Border Patrol agents established by Public Law 113-6; (2) allow CBP to assume responsibility for funding the Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems program from the Department of Defense; (3) sustain necessary CBP Air and Marine Operations; (4) and sustain the staffing levels of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and maintain a floor of 34,000 detention beds established by Public Law 113-6.
  • SECTION 135 – Recreation Fee Program Extension. – Continues for one year the authority of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to collect and expend recreation fees for the use of public lands.
  • SECTION 136 – Fire Reimbursement for the Dept. of the Interior. –Provides $36 million to reimburse Interior for funds that were transferred from other Interior accounts to cover the shortfall in firefighting funds in FY 2013.
  • SECTION 137 -Fire Reimbursement for the Forest Service. –Provides $600 million to reimburse the Forest Service for funds that were transferred from other Forest Service Accounts to cover the shortfall in firefighting funds in FY 2013.
  • SECTION 138 – Stewardship Contracting. – Continues for the period of the CR existing authority for the Forest Service to enter into contracts to improve forest conditions using the value of harvested federal timber instead of appropriated funds to finance such projects.
  • SECTION 139 – Eisenhower Memorial Commission. – Continues for the period of the CR the authorization of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission but prohibits the commission from entering into construction contracts during the period of the CR.
  • SECTION 140 – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Extends the authorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Child Care Entitlement, and related programs (including welfare research) during the period of the CR.
  • SECTION 141 – Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA):  Authorizes the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to collect and retain up to $2.499 million during FY 2014 in fees for certification of equipment and materials for use in mines.
  • SECTION 142 – Low Income Home Energy Assistance: Specifies that Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funds shall be allocated among states during FY 2014 using the same combination of formulas used in the previous two years, thereby allowing distribution of the bulk of LIHEAP funds while this CR is in effect—and in time for winter.
  • SECTION 143 – Office of Refugee Resettlement:  Provides authority to accelerate the rate of spending for the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services in order to meet program needs.
  • SECTION 144 – Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency:  Allows the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) at the Department of HHS to be supported during the period covered by this CR from other HHS funds available for public health preparedness and response.  (During FY 2013, BARDA was supported entirely from carryover funds which are no longer available.)
  • SECTION 145 – Highly qualified teachers: Extends a provision codifying the 2002 regulatory definition of “highly qualified teacher” for an additional two years, through the 2015-2016 school year.
  • SECTION 146 – Member Death Gratuity:  Provides a benefit to the widow of late Senator Lautenberg from New Jersey.
  • SECTION 147 – COLA for Members of Congress:  Prevents Members of Congress from receiving a cost-of -living increase for fiscal year 2014.
  • SECTION 148 – Veterans Benefits Administration:  Appropriates $2.455 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration at the 2014 rate for operations which is an increase of $294 million above the FY 2013 level.
  • SECTION 149 – HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration:  Extends the authorization of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program until January 15, 2014.
  • SECTION 150 – Federal Aviation Administration: Appropriates an additional $100 million for the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • SECTION 151 – WMATA wireless implementation:  Extends the deadline for wireless implementation on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority until January 15, 2014.
  • SECTION 152 – Maritime Security Program: Appropriates an additional $26 million for the Maritime Security Program.
  • SECTION 153-155 – War risk insurance: Extends the authorization of war risk insurance for commercial airlines until January 15, 2014.
  • SECTION 156 – Emergency Relief: Allows Colorado to receive up to $450 million of the Emergency Relief funds provided in the Sandy Supplemental.
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