With all 12 Appropriations bills passed this summer, Democrats are reinvesting in
Unfortunately, all 12 Appropriations bills face a potential veto threat, with Rob Portman, head of the Office of Management and Budget, stating that the President will veto any appropriations bill that exceeds his request. This veto threat would require the Congress to endorse the President's cuts in education, health care, law enforcement, and environmental protection. Instead, the Democratic-led Congress will fight these spending cuts and pass fiscally responsible Appropriations bills that are a reflection of our values.
These appropriations bills reflect the key values of the new Democratic-led Congress:
DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY
Our first priority must be to protect our country and keep America safe. The Democratic-led Congress' Homeland Security Appropriations bill addresses our nation's most pressing security needs, working to implement many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and fulfilling the commitments made by the House in the 9/11 bill passed in January. The Defense Appropriations bill fully funds our troops so that they are prepared for whatever emergencies may arise, providing them with first class weapons and equipment, and ensuring that they and their families are well taken care of. The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill provides the largest increase in funding for veterans health care in the VA's 77-year history, and increases funding to address the VA's repair and maintenance needs. And the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill provides local communities with the help they need to keep our streets safe.
GROWING OUR ECONOMY
The Democratic-led Congress is determined to grow our economy by spur job creation and making the economy work for everyone. Our Financial Services Appropriations bill restores the President's cuts in small business loans, rejects his proposal to slash efforts to make capital and financial services available to underserved communities (CDFI), and strengthens consumer protections. And because we need to stay on the cutting edge of science and technology to keep our economic preeminence in the world, the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill makes strong increases to scientific research at the country's top agencies devoted to science.
CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Our Appropriations bills fund priorities for America's children and families. The Financial Services Appropriations bill supports creating healthy drug-free communities for our children, funding 700 drug-free community coalitions to identify and respond to local substance abuse problems. The Interior and the Environment Appropriations bill ensures our towns and cities are healthy places for families to live and grow. It funds hazardous and toxic cleanup efforts, supports the growth of our national parks, and funds environmental justice initiatives to ensure that environmental decisions and EPA programs do not unfairly affect minority communities. And the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations legislation ensures that every American has adequate shelter, and does so in a way that strengthens the economy and is environmentally responsible.
PROTECTING OUR PLANET
Because Congress is committed to leading by example in the effort to combat climate change, we are taking the first step in creating a planet we want our children to inherit. In the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, Democrats are funding the immediate implementation of a plan to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide emitted by House buildings and reduce overall energy consumption. In addition to Greening the Capitol, our State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill works to address environmental assistance issues across our planet, funding environment and clean energy programs worldwide. And the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations bill reinvests in rural America, protects public health, improves nutrition for more Americans, transforms our energy future, supports conservation, invests in research, and strengthens oversight.
Democrats are committed to restoring accountability and leading the most open, honest, and accountable government during the 110th Congress. In the Financial Services Appropriations bill we meet two key transparency and accountability commitments. The first is full transparency for earmarks--each sponsor and recipient of an earmark will be listed, and each sponsor must file a certification that the sponsor and his or her spouse have no financial interest in the earmark. The second is cutting the amount of earmarks in half--the total FY 2008 earmarks will be half of the earmark total included in the FY 2006 bill under the Republican-controlled Congress. This legislation also strengthens oversight and consumer protection. It funds the Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from consumer products; and it funds the Federal Trade Commission to enhance consumer protection activities including investigating sup-prime lending and identity theft.
Learn more about each Appropriations bill:
- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations
- Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations
- Defense Appropriations
- Energy and Water Appropriations
- Financial Services
- Homeland Security
- Interior and the Environment
- Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations
- Legislative Branch
- Military and Veterans
- State and Foreign Operations
- Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations
On August 2nd, the House passed the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations bill, H.R. 3161. This legislation reinvests in rural America, protects public health, improves nutrition for more Americans, transforms our energy future, supports conservation, invests in research, and strengthens oversight.
Specifically, this legislation:
Reinvests in Rural America:
- Community Facilities: Provides significant increases to grants and loans to rural areas for critical community facilities, such as health care, educational, public safety and day care facilities.
- Technology Access: Provides for distance learning and telemedicine grants, and restores the broadband grant program to help rural areas address limited educational and medical resources.
- Housing: Supports affordable loans for low and moderate-income families in rural areas, with no increase in fees, and substantially increases affordable loans and grants for farm worker housing.
- Clean Water: Provides $500 million for rural water and waste disposal grants and $1 billion for water and waste direct loans, a 14 percent increase over 2007.
Protects Public Health: Prevents cuts to the Food and Drug Administration's field operations and provides additional funding for key activities including processing generic drug applications, drug safety reviews and monitoring prescription drug advertisements. The bill also tackles food safety, fully funding the Food Safety and Inspection Service at USDA, shifting funds to fill vacancies in federal meat inspector positions and investing in research, and funds a transformation of FDA food safety regulations.
Improves Nutrition: Provides nutrition to our country's most vulnerable populations by investing in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and supports programs to teach children better eating habits.
Transforms Our Energy Future: Nearly doubles funding for renewable energy loans and grants to businesses to grow our economy, create new jobs, lower energy prices, and reduce global warming.
Supports Conservation: Restores many of the programs the President would have eliminated.
Invests in Research: Provides critical support for ARS and CSREES programs to maintain our edge in areas such as crop development, competitiveness, international trade, nutrition research, food safety and responsiveness to incoming threats.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>
Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations
On July 26th, the House passed the 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations legislation, H.R. 3093, which provides local communities with the help they need to keep our streets safe.
From 2001 to 2006 funding for state and local law enforcement grants was cut from $4.4 billion to $2.5 billion - 43%. Last year, the FBI reported that violent crime had its biggest increase in over a decade. This bill reverses those trends, making its biggest investments into restoring the state and local grants and funding for the FBI. This legislation supports local programs including the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
To keep our nation's economic preeminence in the world we need to stay on the cutting edge of science and technology. To that end, this bill makes strong increases into scientific research at the countries top agencies devoted to science. It supports the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Research.
It also tackles the enormous challenge of Global Climate Change, with $1.86 billion for research and development projects to study the current and long-term effects of global warming, and strategies to address it.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>
On August 5th, the House passed the 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, H.R. 3222, which addresses the Democratic-led Congress' top priority, and that is the security of our nation. This bill responds to that critical responsibility, fully funding our troops so that they are prepared for whatever emergencies may arise, providing them with first class weapons and equipment, and ensuring that they and their families are well taken care of.
At the same time, the bill realizes its obligation to meet the recent dependence on the use of contractors with increased support for their management and oversight. It likewise makes a commitment to fiscal responsibility.
The legislation keeps our commitments to our troops and their families, addressing guard and reserve equipment shortfalls, supporting military families and raising military salaries, and improving defense health care. It prepares our forces to meet future needs, in training, research and development, and equipment procurement.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>
Energy and Water Appropriations
On July 17th, the House passed the 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations legislation, H.R. 2641, which will address our nation's energy crisis as well as the reality of global warming. This bill both researches the effects of global warming and works on technologies to slow it down. It also invests in renewable energy programs that reduce greenhouse gasses and help our nation meet its energy needs.
In the 1970s, when our nation faced an energy crisis we responded with unprecedented initiatives for energy research. Over the years, gas prices came down, incentive was lost, and these efforts fell by the wayside.
Today, we again face an energy crisis, only this time it is coupled with the enormous challenge of addressing the reality of global climate change. This bill attempts to face these twin crises. The bill also cuts funding for poorly thought-out plans for nuclear weapons, recognizing that because of the enormous cost and the importance to our national security they require smart strategies--not blank checks. Instead, it works to keep Americans safe with a 75% increase in funding for nuclear non-proliferation efforts. It also funds the Army Corps of Engineers, strengthening our nation's navigation infrastructure and improving flood control programs.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>
On June 28th, the House passed the Financial Services Appropriations bill, H.R. 2829, which makes the agencies of the government better equipped to meet the needs of its citizens.
The bill begins by investing in our elections, helping states to meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act. At the IRS, the bill works to make it easier for honest Americans to file their taxes and provides them with assistance if they run into problems. Recognizing the need to close the tax gap, it beefs up enforcement funding, but directs the IRS to be fair and even handed in whom it audits.
The bill increases funding for programs to benefit disadvantaged communities and small businesses through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and investing in Small Business Loans and Development Centers. Increases are included for efforts that fight terrorists by cutting off their funding. Proven efforts that fight drugs by coordinating Federal, state and local efforts are likewise increased, but cuts are made to programs that have not shown their effectiveness.
Finally, it keeps our commitment to the District of Columbia, improving its courts, investing in its students and at the same time recognizing that the Federal government should not dictate to the city how to manage its own affairs or spend its own money.
On June 15th, the House passed the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, H.R. 2638, that addresses our nation's most pressing security needs, working to implement many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and fulfilling the commitments made by the House in the 9/11 bill passed in January.
The bill makes reductions to programs that are low priority or have management problems in order to free up funds for crucial spending. New emphasis is placed on protecting our ports and our rail and transit systems. The bill provides support to our states and local communities for preventing and responding to terrorist threats and natural disasters. Aviation security is strengthened with improvements to baggage screenings and a requirement that TSA double the amount of cargo screened for explosives on passenger aircraft. Critical investments are made into border and immigration security, providing for record numbers of border patrol agents (17,819 in total), and detention beds (28,450).
And it ensures that taxpayer dollars are well spent by requiring specific new accountability and management reforms related to contracting, procurement, and competition. This legislation includes:
- Increased Funding for Border Protection. The bill provides $8.8 billion for the Customs and Border Protection agency, which is $50 million above the President's request and $647 million or 8 pecent above FY 2007.
- Additional Border Patrol Agents. The bill provides funding for 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents in FY 2008 - which will bring the number of Border Patrol agents to 17,819 by the end of FY 2008.
- Deportable Aliens. The bill addresses a major immigration vulnerability that exists today. It requires that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency obtain information, on a monthly basis, from correctional facilities throughout the U.S. to identify incarcerated aliens who are subject to deportation. Every deportable alien should be identified and deported immediately upon their release from prison.
- Secure Border Initiative. The bill funds the Secure Border Initiative at the President's requested level of $1 billion, while requiring the Department of Homeland Security to clearly justify how it plans to use these funds to achieve operational control of our borders. For each border segment, the Department will have to produce an analysis comparing its selected approach to alternatives based on total cost, level of control achieved, impact on affected communities, and other factors.
- State Homeland Security Grants. State Homeland Security Grants are used to meet the needs of first responders, including hiring, training and equipping first responders. The President proposed slashing the grants by 52 percent. Instead, this bill restores this cut - providing $550 million, which is $25 million above FY 2007 and $300 million above the President's request.
- Local Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention program. This $375 million program plays a key role in assisting local law enforcement agencies in information sharing, target hardening, and counterterrorism planning. The President's budget eliminates this program. Instead, this bill provides $400 million, which is $25 million above FY 2007.
- Firefighter Assistance Grants. The President proposed slashing the grants by 55 percent. Instead, this bill restores this cut - providing $570 million, which is $23 million above FY 2007 and $270 million above the President's request.
- SAFER Grants. The President proposed eliminating the $115 million SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) program, which helps fund hiring and training of additional firefighters. Instead, this bill provides $230 million, which is $115 million above FY 2007.
- Explosive Detection Systems. The 9/11 Commission recommended improving the explosive screening of checked baggage. This bill follows that recommendation, providing $849 million for procurement, installation and maintenance of the latest explosive detection systems at airports -- $325 million or 62 percent more than provided in the regular FY 2007 funding bill.
- Screening of Air Cargo. The 9/11 Commission also recommended increasing the amount of cargo screened on passenger aircraft. This bill provides funding to double the amount of cargo screened on passenger aircraft.
Port Security & Transit Security
- Port Security Grants. The bill provides $400 million for port security grants, $190 million over FY 2007 and the President's request, to protect critical port facilities and infrastructure, meeting the level authorized in the SAFE Ports Act. This is the largest single investment Congress has made to implement the security requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (PL 107-295).
- Transit Security Grants. The bill provides $400 million for transit security grants, $225 million over FY 2007 and the President's request, to protect critical transit infrastructure, including rail and ferry systems, in high-threat areas.
- Requiring Competitive Bidding of Contracts. FEMA, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has been notorious for no-bid contracts. Indeed, FEMA recently submitted to Congress a list of nearly 4,000 contracts that were never competitively bid. This bill contains strong accountability measures to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are being well-spent and to eliminate no-bid contracts. The bill mandates that all grant and contract funds be awarded through full and competitive processes, except when funding distribution mechanisms are required by statute.
- Requiring Major Improvements in Acquisition Oversight. DHS has not proved to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars - experiencing ongoing cost, schedule, and performance problems with major acquisitions. The bill is designed to ensure that DHS invests acquisition dollars only in projects that are well-planned, competitively awarded, well-managed, and closely overseen. The bill mandates much stronger acquisition oversight and funds additional acquisition staff to conduct oversight.
Other Key Provisions
- Chemical Security. The bill allows state and local governments to set chemical safety rules that are stronger than the federal government's.
- Metropolitan Medical Response System. The President had proposed eliminating the Metropolitan Medical Response System. Instead, the bill provides $50 million, $17 million over FY 2007, for the program, which provides funding for hospitals and EMS services in major metropolitan areas to enhance their preparedness.
- Interoperable Communications Grants. The bill provides $50 million to continue a program funded by the Department of Commerce in FY 2007 to help local police, firefighters and emergency responders to talk to each other during a crisis.
Interior and the Environment
On June 27th, the House passed the the Interior and the Environment Appropriations bill, H.R. 2643, which provides for the environmental and conservation needs of America's people and its natural resources. The key investments made in this bill will ensure that America's water and air will be cleaner, its pristine natural landscapes and historic structures more protected, wildfires will be appropriately managed, and visitors to its national parks, refuges and forests will experience, for the first time in years, improved levels of service.
The bill honors our obligations to Native American communities, making investments into better education and healthcare. It works to improve the quality of drinking water throughout the country by restoring funding to the Clean Water Revolving Fund. And it renews our nations support for the arts and humanities.
This legislation also focuses our efforts on global climate change, establishing a commission of the government's top scientific experts tasked with identifying key areas for scientific research, and empowering them with the resources to finance work in these areas.
Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations
On July 19th, the House passed the 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations legislation, H.R. 3043, which invests in our nation's communities and families. The strength of our country is not just our national security strength; it is what we have here at home. We are most secure when we have strong families--families with access to a decent education, quality healthcare, and good jobs that offer financial security.
This legislation rejects the arbitrary cuts proposed bye the President, and targets spending towards our most crucial programs. It includes:
- $3.3 billion for student financial aid
- $1 billion for No Child Left Behind Programs
- $1.3 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration, the primary federal agency responsible for improving healthcare access
- $1 billion for medical research at the National Institutes of Health into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's
- $880 million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance
- $949 million for employment and training services
- $660 million for the Community Service Block Grant
This bill targets the additional resources in areas where the nation is facing deficits - deficits in worker development, safety and protection; deficits in health access, affordability and quality; and deficits in educational access and opportunity.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>
On June 22nd, the House passed the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, H.R. 2771, which demonstrates a commitment to increased oversight, accountability and fiscal responsibility. Oversight efforts began with the 14 hearings the Subcommittee held to guide decisions in the bill. They continued with key investments for things like a new Inspector General for the Architect of the Capitol to help bring order to that office's management practices and budget, and staff increases for the Government Accountability Office to help Congress fulfill its oversight duties.
Other increases targeted meeting critical health and safety needs - funding important security upgrades, addressing health hazards, and providing incentive for agencies to meet health and safety requirements as set by the Congressional Accountability Act.
Finally, the bill provides the initial funding for efforts to Green the Capitol by switching to 100% renewable wind energy for the House's electricity needs, increasing the use of cleaner fuels and helping to make Congressional offices more energy efficient. The funding in this bill provides for shifting from coal to cleaner burning natural gas for heating, switching to 100% renewable wind power for electrical needs, an ethanol gas station for House automobiles, and energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
On June 15th, the House passed the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, H.R. 2642, which fulfills our nation's obligation to America's servicemen and women, their families and our veterans. It provides the largest increase in funding for veterans health care in the VA's 77-year history, adding over 1,000 new claims processors to reduce the backlog of 400,000 benefits claims. It also increases funding to address the VA's repair and maintenance needs to prevent a Walter Reed type scandal from occurring in the VA system.
Military construction also faces a historic funding increase largely due to costs associated with Base Realignment and Closure and plans to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. The bill fully funds BRAC and increases funding for military construction to improve training and quality of life facilities for active duty troops and Members of the Guard and Reserves.
The Democratic bill gives more than the President requested to fund programs and services for our veterans and for military reconstruction. These include:
- Department of Veterans Affairs $43.2 billion, $6.7 billion above 2007 and $3.8 billion over the President's request for veterans medical care, claims processing personnel, and facility improvements.
- Veterans Health Administration, $37.1 billion, $2.5 billion over the President's request and $4.4 billion over 2007 for veterans medical care. The Veterans Health Administration estimates they will treat more than 5.8 million patients in 2008 including more than 263,345 veterans of
Iraqand , 54,000 more than fiscal year 2007. Afghanistan
- Medical Services: $28.9 billion, $1.7 billion above the President request and $3.4 billion above 2007 to improve access to medical services for all veterans.
o New Initiatives to Improve Access to Vital Services: $600 million for new initiative for mental health and PTSD, including funding to ensure the five Level I Polytrauma Centers and the three Centers of Excellence for Mental Health and PTSD are fully operational in 2008. These Centers treat the signature injuries for veterans of
o Mental Health and Substance Abuse: $2.9 billion, $100 million over 2007, matching the President's request for specialty mental health care and $429 million, $70 million above the President's request and $72 million above 2007 for the Substance Abuse Program. The President's request did not even provide for inflation within the Department's Substance Abuse Program and cut the number of psychiatric inpatient beds.
o Assistance for Homeless Veterans: $130 million, $23 million above the President's request and $38 million over 2007 for the homeless grants and per diem program to help care for an 2,300 additional homeless veterans.
o Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund: a minimum of $15 million, to be used for joint programs with the Department of Defense to increase research, improve access to care, and ensure a more seamless transition for our veterans, particularly in the areas of greatest concern for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan: traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, increased survival of severe burns, and amputation.
\xe2\x80\xa2 Medical Administration: $3.6 billion, $193 million above the President's request and $458 million above 2007 to ensure the efficient operation of the Department's health care system.
\xe2\x80\xa2 Medical Facilities: $4.1 billion, $508 million above the President's request and $530 million above 2007 for on-going maintenance and renovations of existing facilities to address identified shortfalls and to ensure the Department's facilities remain capable of delivering world class medicine. The Department currently estimates a maintenance backlog of over $5 billion.
\xe2\x80\xa2 Medical and Prosthetic Research: $480 million, $69 million above the President's request and $66 million above 2007 for research to improve the quality of life for injured and aging veterans. The increase will help to attack the emerging issues facing those returning from
Military Construction: $21.4 billion, $207 million over the Administration's request, and $5.1 billion above 2007, towards military construction.
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Re-stationing: $8.2 billion, $2.5 billion above 2007 and matching the President's request to implement base closures and realignments, as well as the re-stationing of 70,000 troops and their families from overseas to the
1990 Base Realignment and Closure: $271 million, $18 million above 2007 and $50 million above the President's request to address an estimated $3.5 billion backlog in needed environmental cleanup for bases closed during the four previous BRAC rounds identified in most recent Defense Environmental Programs Annual Report.
Military Housing: $2.9 billion towards military housing, fully funding the President's request and supporting the elimination of a further 13,727 inadequate family housing units
Growing the Force: $2.8 billion to support the Administration's proposal to increase the size of the Army by 65,000, the Marine Corps by 27,000, and the Guard and Reserve by 9,200 over the next five years.Learn more>>
On June 22nd, the House passed the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, H.R. 2764, which will strengthen our nation's efforts to combat terrorism, foster diplomacy, and improve the quality of life of some of the world's most vulnerable peoples.
The bill makes significant investments in global health efforts for AIDS, TB and Malaria prevention, treatment, and care, putting us on track to exceed the President's recent pledge to provide $30 billion for these efforts over the next 5 years.
Development efforts play a crucial role in increasing global stability. To that end, the bill works to improve access to education for children around the world and to provide communities with access to clean drinking water.
The bill provides for those most in need with funding for peacekeeping, refugee assistance, international disaster assistance, and international organizations whose mission is to support vulnerable populations. Roughly $950 million is included for the
The bill provides nearly $1 billion for reconstruction and counter-narcotics efforts in
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations
On July 24th, the House passed the 2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations legislation, H.R. 3074, which addresses the important challenges of keeping our transportation system safe and strong, ensuring that every American has adequate shelter, and doing so in a way that strengthens the economy and is environmentally responsible.
The bill safeguards the regional needs of our nation and modernizes our transportation system, investing in transit projects for urban areas to help commuters save time and money getting to work, and rejecting the President's cuts to programs that provide air service to rural communities. The bill likewise rejects the President's deep cuts to AMTRAK, protecting our national passenger rail system, and it fully funds the highway and transit guarantees set in the SAFETEA-LU authorization bill.
For housing, this bill includes funding to ensure that no one who has a voucher will lose it. The President's budget would have cut programs that provide shelter for low-income Americans by over $2 billion at a time that about \xc2\xbe of households that are eligible for HUD assistance programs are not receiving assistance, including deep cuts to the department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grants, and programs that provide housing for the elderly and disabled.
The bill also links housing and transportation by establishing a new interagency working group to coordinate transportation and housing policies on the federal, state, and local level.
Learn more from the Appropriations Committee>>