Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) writes:
This week the House resumed consideration of the FY 2018 appropriations bills with H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018. You may recall that in July the House passed H.R. 3219 which included the Defense, Legislative Branch, Energy and Water, and Military-Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills. None of them were considered under regular legislative order and the House still has not passed a budget resolution.
H.R. 3354 includes the following appropriations bills: Interior-Environment; Agriculture; Commerce-Justice-Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; State and Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. H.R. 3354 is just as bad as H.R. 3219. Taken together, both bills come in higher than allowed under the Budget Control Act (BCA), which remains in effect. This means that every department and program covered could be cut by 13% because it has to adhere to the numbers agreed to in the BCA. If not, then the domestic programs would have to be cut even more dramatically in order to offset the higher than allowed spending in the military budgets.
H.R. 3354 cuts funding for far too many important programs. The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Economic Development Administration are all cut. Funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program is eliminated and Juvenile Justice programing also suffers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) comes in at almost $710 million less than last fiscal year. Recent events suggest we should be paying close attention to both oceans and atmosphere.
This legislation also underfunds important cybersecurity and homeland security initiatives, including research and development designed to combat threats. It eliminates the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grant program, prohibits administrators from using funds for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and eliminates federal reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for preventive health care.
It doesn’t spare education funding either – reducing resources for afterschool and summer programming, initiatives that seek to reduce socioeconomic and racial disparities in academic achievement. The legislation eliminates teacher development and literacy grants as well as federal funding for the Special Olympics. In a world no one believes is getting safer, H.R. 3354 cuts State Department funding by 17%. This will have serious consequences for everything from embassy security to international disaster assistance. It also eliminates the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant which helps communities afford large infrastructure projects such as Ruggles Station, which is being improved thanks to a TIGER grant. Public housing, community development block grants, and Amtrak all lose out too. I could go on and on but I think you now know what to expect.
Despite all these cuts, H.R. 3354 does increase funding for immigration enforcement, which is sadly not a surprise given the Administration’s approach so far. H.R. 3354 also ignores the President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint when it comes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That budget proposal cut FEMA by $71 million.
Now that the House has passed H.R. 3354 it will be combined with H.R. 3219 and sent to the Senate.
H.R. 3354 passed 211-198; only seven more Republican NO votes would have defeated it. Rep. Reed voted AYE.
The House considered an amendment offered by Mr. Gohmert, numbered 195 printed in House Report 115-297 to reduce the Internal Revenue Service’s Operations Support account by $165,300.00 and apply the savings to the spending reduction account.” For whatever reason, Tom Reed voted NO, and this amendment was defeated. Tom occasionally does right, and we should take notice.
On the Gohmert amendment: