Year-End Budget Deal 

Posted: 8:43 pm Sunday, December 19th, 2010

By Jamie Dupree

Senate leaders have struck a final agreement on a short term budget, which will keep the federal government running through March 4, 2011.   Here are the bullet points as announced Sunday evening by the Senate Appropriations Committee:

WASHINGTON, DC – Below are highlights of the Senate
amendment to H.R. 3082, a Continuing Resolution
(C.R.) that would allow continued government operations through March 4, 2011.
Cloture was filed on H.R. 3082 on Sunday, December 19, 2010, with a cloture
vote expected to take place Tuesday, December 21, 2010.  The current CR also
expires on December 21, 2010. 

 

Continuing Resolution
Summary

 

Ongoing programs: Under the CR, funding would continue at FY 2010 enacted
levels
for most programs. In total, the CR would provide funding at a rate
approximately $1.16 billion over the FY 2010 level. 

 

Extended Authorizations and
Other Actions:
The CR extends
authorizations or allows for continuous normal operations through March 4,
2011, for certain programs that would otherwise expire or be severely
disrupted, including:

 

New Anomalies:

  • Freezes the pay of
    Federal civilian employees for two calendar years starting in 2011.
  • Ensures that HHS
    obligates the same amount for LIHEAP during the CR as it obligated during
    the same period in FY 2010.
  • Ensures that the maximum
    Pell Grant award remains at the same level it was in FY 2010.
  • Clarifies the definition
    of a “highly qualified teacher.”
  • Adjusts the amount
    available for operations of the National Telecommunications and
    Information Administration (NTIA) to prevent layoffs that would cause the
    agency to cease almost all operations.
  • Adjusts the current rate
    of operations for the Veterans Benefits Administration to $2.1 billion, an
    increase of $460 million over the FY 2010 appropriation, to prevent
    layoffs of claims processers and to support efforts in reducing the
    processing times of disability claims. 
  • Prevents elimination of
    over $4.3 billion of reduced fee loans for small businesses that would
    otherwise expire. 
  • Ensures adequate funding
    to prevent significant scaling back of critical audits and investigations
    of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
  • Prevents the need for a
    rate increase on telecommunications companies that would be passed on to
    consumers in the form of higher charges to consumer phone bills.
  • Extends authority for
    current surface transportation programs to ensure that State departments
    of transportation and local transit agencies will be able to continue
    their ongoing infrastructure investments.
  • Provides transfer
    authority for the Transportation Security Administration to sustain
    efforts to improve defenses against terrorist attacks, such as the attack
    on Northwest Flight 253 last December and the recent attempts against
    all-cargo aircraft.
  • Provides transfer
    authority to the Coast Guard to address operational challenges, such as
    military pay.

 

Anomalies continued from the
previous CR:

  • Allows the Federal Air
    Marshals to maintain the existing FY 2010 4th quarter coverage level for
    international and domestic flights. 
  • Allows the Commissioner
    of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to maintain the level of Customs and
    Border Protection personnel in place in the final quarter of FY
    2010. 
  • Extends the authority
    for the Department of Defense to execute the Commanders Emergency Response
    Program which is an essential tool for military commanders in Iraq and
    Afghanistan.
  • Extends the application
    period for retroactive stop loss benefits throughout the duration of the
    continuing resolution.
  • Extends for the duration
    of the CR the existing authority for the Department of Homeland Security
    (DHS) to retain its authority to regulate chemical facilities that present
    high levels of risk.
  • Extends for the duration
    of the CR the existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    authority to provide technical and financial assistance to States and
    localities for pre-disaster hazard mitigation activities.
  • Adjusts the current rate
    of operations for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons
    program to $7 billion, a $624 million increase over FY 2010 appropriation,
    in conjunction with the START Treaty. 
  • Provides for the
    continuation of a program included under the Child Nutrition Act which
    will allow for school feeding activities where year round activities
    occur. 
  • Provides an additional
    $23 million to the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy
    Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) for increased oil
    rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico.  The increase in funding is
    fully offset with a rescission of unobligated balances. 
  • Allows the National Cord Blood Inventory
    contracts to continue at their current level through the duration of the
    CR.
  • Extends the TANF block grant and Child Care Entitlement
    to States program at their current level through the duration of the
    CR. 
  • Reduces the amount
    available for BRAC 2005 from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate equal to
    $2.35 billion, the FY 2011 request.
  • Adjusts the current rate
    for operations for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program in order
    to include in the rate for operations the $965 million that was advanced
    for Israel, Egypt and Jordan in the FY 2009 Supplemental. 
  • Continues the rate of
    operations for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) at
    $700 million. This section also continues the terms and conditions
    included in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 Supplementals.
  • Reduces the amount
    available for Census programs from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate
    equal to $964 million annually, the same as the amount recommended for FY
    2011.
  • Permits the District of
    Columbia to spend funds under its local budget beginning on and after the
    October 1, 2010 start of fiscal year. 
  • Allows the U.S.
    Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is responsible for coordinating
    the federal policy relating to homelessness, to continue operating.
  • Extends the current HECM
    loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.
  • Extends the current FHA
    loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.
  • Extends the current GSE
    loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.