H.R.4745–another convoluted funding bill

ImageH.R.4745 – Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015

Reported to House without amendment (05/27/2014)

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 – Title I: Department of Transportation – Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2015 – Makes appropriations for FY2015 to the Department of Transportation (DOT), including: (1) the Office of the Secretary, (2) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), (3) the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), (4) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), (5) the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), (6) the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), (7) the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), (8) the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, (9) the Maritime Administration, (10) the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), (11) the Office of Inspector General, and (12) the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

In the summary of the act, “prohibit” occurs 44 times and “bars” 11 times. Let’s see what is barred and prohibited:

  1. (Sec. 110) Prohibits the use of funds to compensate more than 600 technical staff-years under the federally funded research and development center contract between the FAA and the Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development during FY2015.
  2. (Sec. 111) Prohibits the use of funds to pursue or adopt guidelines or regulations requiring airport sponsors to provide to the FAA without cost building construction, maintenance, utilities and expenses, or space in airport sponsor-owned buildings for services relating to air traffic control, air navigation, or weather reporting. Exempts from this prohibition any negotiations between the agency and airport sponsors to: (1) achieve agreement on “below-market” rates for these items, or (2) grant assurances that require airport sponsors to provide land without cost to the FAA for air traffic control facilities.
  3. (Sec. 114) Prohibits the availability of funds for paying premium pay (pay for Sunday and holiday work) to an FAA employee unless the employee actually performed worked during the time corresponding to such pay.
  4. (Sec. 115) Prohibits the obligation of funds for an FAA employee to purchase a store gift card or gift certificate through use of a government-issued credit card.
  5. (Sec. 116) Prohibits the obligation of funds for retention bonuses for an FAA employee without the prior written approval of the DOT Assistant Secretary for Administration.
  6. (Sec. 117) Prohibits the use of funds to implement, or to continue to implement, any limitation on the ability of a private aircraft owner or operator, upon a request to the FAA Administrator, to block, with respect to its noncommercial flights, the display of the owner’s or operator’s registration number in the Aircraft Situational Display to Industry data provided by the FAA to the public, unless the data has been made available to a government agency.
  7. (Sec. 118) Prohibits the availability of funds for salaries and expenses of more than nine FAA political and Presidential appointees.
  8. (Sec. 119) Prohibits the use of funds to increase fees the FAA Administrator may assess for the costs of creating, printing and disseminating aeronautical products and services until the FAA provides Congress the aeronautical navigation products report referred to in the explanatory statement described in section 4 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.
  9. (Sec. 119A) Bars the use of funds to change weight restrictions or prior permission rules at Teterboro airport in Teterboro, New Jersey.
  10. (Sec. 123) Prohibits the use of funds to approve or authorize the imposition of a toll on any segment of a federal highway in the state of Texas that is not already tolled, is constructed with federal assistance, and is in actual operation. States that this prohibition does not apply to: (1) any federal-aid system highway segment that will have the same number of nontoll lanes as existed before a toll is imposed, or (2) any high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane converted to a toll lane if an HOV may use the toll lane without paying a toll or the HOV lane was constructed as a temporary lane to be replaced by a toll lane.
  11. (Sec. 124) Prohibits the use of funds to DOT to provide credit assistance (secured or direct loans, loan guarantees, or lines of credit) for eligible infrastructure projects unless the Secretary notifies Congress at least three days before approval of any loan or credit application.
  12. Prohibits application of federal weight limitations to a longer combination vehicle operating on a segment of the Interstate System in Idaho if it: (1) has a gross vehicle weight of 129,000 pounds or less; (2) complies with certain single axle, tandem axle, and bridge formula weight limits; and (3) is authorized to operate on that segment under Idaho law.
  13. Permits the continued operation of trucks on any segment of U.S. Route 78 in Mississippi from mile marker 0 to mile marker 113 that is designated as a route on the Interstate System. Prohibits federal weight limitation requirements from applying to those segments with respect to trucks that could operate legally on them before that designation.
  14. (Sec. 142) Prohibits the use of funds to implement establishment in the DOT of a National Highway Safety Advisory Committee.
  15. (Sec. 152) Bars the use of funds for Amtrak to pay overtime costs in excess of $35,000 for any Amtrak employee. Authorizes the president of Amtrak to waive such cap in cases where it poses a risk to the safety and operational efficiency of the Amtrak system.
  16. (Sec. 164) Bars the use of funds to enter into a full funding grant agreement for a major transit capital project with a New Starts program share greater than 50%.
  17. (Sec. 165) Bars the use of funds to advance in any way a new light or heavy rail project towards a full funding agreement for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, if the proposed capital project is constructed on (or planned to be constructed on) Richmond Avenue west of South Shepherd Drive or on Post Oak Boulevard north of Richmond Avenue in Houston, Texas.
  18. (Sec. 171) Bars the use of funds by DOT or the Maritime Administration to negotiate or execute, enter into, facilitate or perform fee-for-service contracts for vessel disposal, scrapping, or recycling, unless there is no qualified domestic ship recycler that will pay to purchase and scrap or recycle a vessel owned or operated by the Maritime Administration or that is part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet.
  19. (Sec. 182) Prohibits the availability of the funds in this Act for salaries and expenses of more than 110 political and presidential appointees in DOT. Prohibits assignment of any of such appointees on temporary detail outside DOT.
  20. (Sec. 183) Bars recipients of funds made available in this Act from disseminating personal information obtained by a state department of motor vehicles in connection with a motor vehicle record, except as permitted under specified federal criminal law. Prohibits the Secretary, however, from withholding funds for any grantee if a state fails to comply with this prohibition.
  21. (Sec. 189) Prohibits the use of funds by the STB to charge or collect any filing fee for rate complaints filed with it in an amount in excess of that authorized for district court civil suit filing fees under the federal judicial code.
  22. (Sec. 192) Prohibits the STB from using funds under this Act to take any actions to construct a high-speed rail project in California unless it has jurisdiction over the entire project and the permit to construct the project in its entirety was issued by the STB.
  23. (Sec. 193) Prohibits use of transportation infrastructure finance and innovation (TIFIA) program funds made available under this Act to subsidize a credit instrument that would cause the credit subsidy obligated in FY2015 for transportation infrastructure projects in a single state to exceed 33% of the total credit subsidy made available by this Act on October 1, 2014.
  24. (Sec. 194) Bars use of funds made available by this Act to deny an application to renew a Hazardous Materials Safety Program permit for a motor carrier based on that carrier’s Hazardous Materials Out-of-Service rate, unless the Secretary determines the carrier’s corrective actions or corrective action plan is insufficient to address the safety concerns that resulted in that rate.

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development – Department of Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2015 – Makes appropriations for FY2015 to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for: (1) administration, operations, and management; (2) the Office of Public and Indian Housing; (3) the Office of Community Planning and Development; (4) the Office of Housing and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); (5) the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae); (6) Office of Policy Development and Research; (7) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity; (8) the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes; and (9) the Office of Inspector General.

  1. (Sec. 202) Prohibits the use of funds during FY2015 to investigate or prosecute under the Fair Housing Act any otherwise lawful activity engaged in by one or more persons, including the filing or maintaining of a non-frivolous legal action, that is engaged in solely to achieve or prevent action by a government official or entity, or a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. (Sec. 211) Prohibits the use of funds provided under this title for an audit of Ginnie Mae that applies certain requirements of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990.
  3. (Sec. 213) Prohibits any section 8 rental assistance to any individual who: (1) is enrolled as a student at an institution of higher education; (2) is under age 24; (3) is not a veteran; (4) is unmarried; (5) does not have a dependent child; (6) is not a person with disabilities, and was not receiving section 8 assistance as of November 30, 2005; and (7) is not otherwise individually eligible, or has parents who, individually or jointly, are not eligible, to receive such assistance.
  4. (Sec. 219) Prohibits the Secretary, with respect to the use of funds for the operation, capital improvement, and management of public housing authorized by the United States Housing Act of 1937, from imposing any asset management requirement or guideline that restricts or limits in any way the use of capital funds for central office costs.
  5. Prohibits a PHA, however, from using capital funds authorized for eligible operation and management activities with operating funds in excess of specified permitted amounts.
  6. (Sec. 220) Prohibits designation of a HUD official or employee as an allotment holder unless he or she has: (1) implemented an adequate system of funds control, and (2) received training in funds control procedures and directives.
  7. (Sec. 227) Prohibits during any PHA FY2015 the use of funds, made available for specified purposes of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (including the Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance program), by any PHA for any amount of salary for its chief executive officer, or any other official or employee that exceeds the annual rate of basic pay for a position at level IV of the Executive Schedule.
  8. (Sec. 228) Bars the use of funds made available by this Act for the HUD doctoral dissertation research grant program.
  9. (Sec. 229) Bars the use of funds in this Act provided to HUD to make a grant award unless the Secretary notifies congressional appropriations committees at least three full business days before any project, state, locality, housing authority, tribe, nonprofit organization, or other entity selected to receive a grant award is announced by HUD or its offices.
  10. (Sec. 231) Bars the use of funds in this Act to require or enforce the Physical Needs Assessment (PNA).
  11. (Sec. 232) Prohibits the use of funds made available by this Act or any receipts or amounts collected under any FHA program to implement the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) program.
  12. (Sec. 233) Bars the use of funds made available in this Act by FHA, Ginnie Mae, or HUD to insure, securitize, or establish a federal guarantee of any mortgage or mortgage-backed security that refinances or otherwise replaces a mortgage that has been subject to eminent domain condemnation or seizure, by a state, municipality, or any other local government.

Title III: Related Agencies – Makes appropriations for FY2014 to: (1) the Access Board, (2) the Federal Maritime Commission, (3) the Offices of Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency and for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), (4) the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), (5) the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and (6) the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Title IV: General Provisions (This Act) – Specifies certain uses and limits on or prohibitions against the use of funds appropriated by this Act.

  1. (Sec. 401) Prohibits the use of funds for the planning or execution of any program to pay the expenses of, or otherwise compensate, nonfederal parties intervening in regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings funded in this Act.
  2. (Sec. 404) Prohibits the obligation or expenditure of funds made available in this Act for any employee training that meets specified negative criteria. Declares that nothing in this prohibition shall prohibit, restrict, or otherwise preclude an agency from conducting training bearing directly upon the performance of official duties.
  3. (Sec. 407) Prohibits the use of funds to support any federal, state, or local projects that seek to use the power of eminent domain, unless eminent domain is employed only for a public use.
  4. (Sec. 409) Prohibits the transfer of duns made available in this Act to any federal department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government, except pursuant to a transfer made by, or transfer authority provided in, this Act or any other appropriations Act.
  5. (Sec. 410) Prohibits payment of the salary from any appropriation under this Act for any person filling a position (other than temporary) formerly held by an employee who has: (1) left to enter the U.S. Armed Forces; (2) satisfactorily completed his or her period of active military or naval service; (3) within 90 days after release from such service, or from hospitalization continuing after discharge for up to one year, applied for restoration to his former position; and (4) been certified by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as still qualified to perform the duties of his or her former position, but not been restored to it.
  6. (Sec. 411) Prohibits the expenditure of funds appropriated under this Act by an entity unless the entity agrees to comply with the Buy American Act.
  7. (Sec. 412) Prohibits the availability of funds to any person or entity that has been convicted of violating the Buy American Act.
  8. (Sec. 413) Prohibits the use of funds under this Act for first-class airline accommodations in contravention of specified federal regulations.
  9. (Sec. 414) Prohibits the use of funds made available by this Act to enter into a contract, memorandum of understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to any corporation that was convicted of a felony criminal violation under any federal law within the preceding 24 months, where the awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency has: (1) considered suspension or debarment of the corporation, and (2) made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect government interests.
  10. (Sec. 415) Makes the same prohibition as in Sec. 414 with respect to any corporation with any unpaid federal tax liability that is not being paid in a timely manner, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and determined that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the government.

Some of the above provisions apply to only one state or a few states. These are highly suspect–a federal law ought apply equally to all states. Here are examples:

  • (Sec. 119A) Bars the use of funds to change weight restrictions or prior permission rules at Teterboro airport in Teterboro, New Jersey.
  • (Sec. 123) Prohibits the use of funds to approve or authorize the imposition of a toll on any segment of a federal highway in the state of Texas that is not already tolled, is constructed with federal assistance, and is in actual operation. States that this prohibition does not apply to: (1) any federal-aid system highway segment that will have the same number of nontoll lanes as existed before a toll is imposed, or (2) any high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane converted to a toll lane if an HOV may use the toll lane without paying a toll or the HOV lane was constructed as a temporary lane to be replaced by a toll lane.
  • Prohibits application of federal weight limitations to a longer combination vehicle operating on a segment of the Interstate System in Idaho if it: (1) has a gross vehicle weight of 129,000 pounds or less; (2) complies with certain single axle, tandem axle, and bridge formula weight limits; and (3) is authorized to operate on that segment under Idaho law.
  • (Sec. 192) Prohibits the STB from using funds under this Act to take any actions to construct a high-speed rail project in California unless it has jurisdiction over the entire project and the permit to construct the project in its entirety was issued by the STB.
  • (Sec. 210) Declares that a PHA (or other entity) that administers federal housing assistance for the Housing Authority of the county of Los Angeles, California, or the states of Alaska, Iowa, or Mississippi shall not be required to include a resident of public housing or a recipient of section 8 rental assistance (under the United States Housing Act of 1937) on the agency or entity governing board.
  • Requires the Secretary to: (1) adjust the funds allocated for FY2015 under the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act to Wilmington, Delaware, on behalf of the Wilmington, Delaware-Maryland-New Jersey Metropolitan Division; and (2) allocate a portion to the state of New Jersey according to a specified formula.
  • Directs the Secretary to allocate to Wake County, North Carolina, certain funds that otherwise would be allocated for FY2015 under such Act to Raleigh, North Carolina, on behalf of the Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina, Metropolitan Statistical Area (as modified).
  • Prohibits application of federal weight limitations to a longer combination vehicle operating on a segment of the Interstate System in Idaho if it: (1) has a gross vehicle weight of 129,000 pounds or less; (2) complies with certain single axle, tandem axle, and bridge formula weight limits; and (3) is authorized to operate on that segment under Idaho law.
  • Permits the continued operation of trucks on any segment of U.S. Route 78 in Mississippi from mile marker 0 to mile marker 113 that is designated as a route on the Interstate System. Prohibits federal weight limitation requirements from applying to those segments with respect to trucks that could operate legally on them before that designation.

A few especially interesting provisions:

  • (Sec. 142) Prohibits the use of funds to implement establishment in the DOT of a National Highway Safety Advisory Committee.
  • (Sec. 404) Prohibits the obligation or expenditure of funds made available in this Act for any employee training that meets specified negative criteria.
  • (Sec. 407) Prohibits the use of funds to support any federal, state, or local projects that seek to use the power of eminent domain, unless eminent domain is employed only for a public use.

It should be very interesting to learn what amendments are proposed and adopted. Monday evening, June 9, two amendments came up for roll call votes:

An amendment, offered by Mr. Broun (GA), to reduce funding for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation by $340,000,000 and to apply the savings to the spending reduction account was defeated 154-248  (Roll no. 273). Rep. Reed and 70 other Republicans joined most Democrats to defeat this amendment.

An amendment, offered by Mr. Chabot, to reduce funding in specified accounts by a total of $2,910,252,900 and to apply the savings to the spending reduction account was defeated 127-279  (Roll no. 274). Rep. Reed and 93 other Republicans joined Democrats to defeat this amendment.

Debate continued into the night. The above results suggest that Republican stalwarts including Tom, voting with Democrats, have the votes to defeat efforts to defund key programs.

© William Hungerford – June 2014

http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4745

http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx?day=20140609

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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8 Responses to H.R.4745–another convoluted funding bill

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    What’s in it (going against his usual affinity to cut) for Tom Reed?

    Like

  2. whungerford says:

    It isn’t unusual for Tom to vote as party leaders wish. Some amendments, sure to fail, are political theater. For example, an amendment, offered by Mr. Chabot, to “reduce funding in specified accounts by a total of $2,910,252,900 and to apply the savings to the spending reduction account” failed by voice vote with a recorded vote to come. That’s almost $3 billion.

    Like

  3. whungerford says:

    The administration’s view:

    Click to access saphr4745h_20140609.pdf

    Like

  4. Anne says:

    Does anyone else ever get the feeling that Reed sometimes just flips a coin?

    Like

  5. whungerford says:

    I think he votes as party leaders request whenever it matters.

    “No one gets appointed to the House Rules Committee by the House leadership, unless they are persons who will support the House Speaker’s dictates 100% of the time. If you are on this committee, your responsibility is to do exactly what the Speaker and the House Republican Party wants done there, and nothing else.”

    https://newny23rd.com/2013/05/06/what-does-house-committee-membership-actually-represent/

    Like

  6. josephurban says:

    This bill seems to be aimed at cutting services, not providing them (I am depending on the WH analysis). This has been a GOP ploy for the last 30 years. Supply lousy government…then complain that government is lousy.

    Like

  7. whungerford says:

    H.R. 4745 On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays:229-192 (Roll no. 297). The vote was mostly along party lines–Republicans Yes, Democrats No. Rep. Reed voted in favor.
    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll297.xml

    Like

  8. whungerford says:

    Here’s one I found amusing:
    An amendment, offered by Mrs. Hartzler (R-MO), to prohibit use of funds to enforce section 319 of title 23, United States Code. This section pertains to landscaping and scenic enhancement along highways. It failed because enough Republicans voted against it to defeat it. Rep. Reed voted in favor. Republican support for Barbara Bush’s efforts to beautify our highways seems to be a thing of the past.

    One law to prevent enforcement of another–that’s goofy.

    Like

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