At Long Last… A FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

FY2017 appropriations

As if by magic, the House and Senate, early in the morning on Monday, May 1, came to an agreement on a $1.1 billion fiscal year (FY) omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the government through September 30, 2017. (NOTE: Specific funding amounts are included at the bottom of this blog.)

The bill is expected to be adopted by Friday, May 5, when the short-term funding bill expires. If all goes as expected and the President is willing to sign the omnibus appropriations bill, the threat of a government shutdown will have again been averted.

According to Bloomberg Government the omnibus appropriations bill ‘tracks with Democratic priorities and rejects most of Donald Trump’s wish list, including money to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border,’ though it does increase military spending by $15 billion and border security by $1.5 billion. However, none of the additional border security funds can be used to build the wall.

The White House had demanded that Congress cut $18 billion from domestic agencies and provide funding for border wall construction, but both demands were rebuffed, as were demands by the White House and congressional conservatives that funding for Planned Parenthood be eliminated.

Overall, the compromise is more in keeping with former President Obama’s request than it is with Donald Trump’s. Though the 1600 page bill may include a one percent cut across all non-defense discretionary programs (which was not made clear at press time), 70 anti-environmental policy riders and all abortion-related riders that the White House and conservatives wanted were rebuffed.

In addition, funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of Science would be increased, and the bill would prevent the Justice Department from restricting the dispensing of medical marijuana in states where it has been legalized. The Environmental Protection Agency, which the Administration has considered eliminating, would receive a one percent cut.

The bill includes $61 million to reimburse New York City for costs incurred by local law enforcement agencies responsible for protecting Mr. Trump and his family.

Democrats did succeed in requiring the Administration to fund Obamacare subsidies; however, the extension is only temporary and will have to be renegotiated in future appropriations bills.

But while passage of this omnibus appropriations bill has now been resolved, the threat of a government shutdown looms large for October – when Democrats and Republicans will again have to litigate such items as Obamacare and the border wall, in addition to reaching an agreement on increasing the debt limit.

NARC is reviewing the final text of the omnibus appropriations. The information below is very preliminary and will be updated tomorrow and Wednesday. However, as you will see, the funding news is largely good for the programs that matter to regional councils.

Key: 

  • (-) reduction in funding from last year
  • (=) level funding
  • (+) increased funding
  • (++) significant increase

Commerce:

  • Economic Development Administration — $276 million (+)

Housing:

  • Community Development Block Grant level funded at $3 billion (=)
  • HOME — $950 million (=)

Transportation:

  • Surface Transportation Infrastructure — $500 million
  • Airport and Airway Trust/Essential Service — $150 million
  • TIGER Grants — $500 million (=)

Environment:

  • Brownfields — $2.6 billion
  • Clean Water Revolving State Fund — $1.4 billion
  • Clean Air Act — $1.1 billion
  • Water Infrastructure and Innovations – $976 million

 Health and Human Services:

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance — $3.4 billion (-)
  • Aging services — $1.9 billion (=)
  • Opioid Addiction — $1.6 billion (+)

Agriculture: 

  • Rural Development — $2.94 (+)

Federal Emergency Management Agency:

  • Stafford Disaster Relief — $7.3 billion (++)
  • Urban Area Security Initiative — $605 million (+)

 

The author wishes to acknowledge Bloomberg Government, the Hill, Politico, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, as well as National Public Radio, which were important resources when writing this article.

Neil Bomberg

Neil Bomberg

Senior Policy Advisor at National Association of Regional Councils
I am a highly experienced public sector lobbyist committed to ensuring that the issues important to regions and the local governments they represent are heard in Congress and the Administration. My issue areas include: budget and appropriations, human services, health care, workforce development, and economic and community development. I worked as a lobbyist at the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities for more than 26 years where I focused on labor and employment, and human development, respectively.
Neil Bomberg

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