The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2013 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other independent agencies.
The bill includes a total of $21.15 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $376 million below last year's level and $2 billion below the President's request. Compared to fiscal year 2010, the last year of Democrat control of Congress, the bill cuts $3 billion, or nearly 13%. When adjusted for inflation, the legislation is virtually equal to the 2008 funding level.
"This will be the ninth bill the Appropriations Committee will have considered this year, and it continues our commitment to holding the line on spending, wisely investing in programs that benefit our economy and small business growth, and protecting against the encroachment of government into the daily lives of all Americans. This legislation also makes strides to instill stringent oversight to ensure the proper and appropriate spending of every tax dollar, particularly within government agencies that have shown recklessness in the past," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
"In addition to common-sense reductions in federal spending, the American people deserve accountability from the taxpayer-funded offices, which are supposed to act in the nation's best interests. This bill includes new transparency and cuts for the General Services Administration and other Federal agencies. The total spending reduction from the president's budget proposal is $2 billion, or 8 percent," Subcommittee Chairwoman Jo Ann Emerson said.
Department of the Treasury -- The bill includes $12.3 billion for the Treasury Department, which is $77 million above last year's level and nearly $952 million below the President's request. However, in comparison, after adjusting for annual rescissions, the underlying bill is $43 million below fiscal year 2012.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) -- Included in the bill is $11.8 billion for the IRS -- the same as last year's level. The legislation does not provide any of the requested increases to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and prohibits transfers of funds between the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS to implement PPACA.
Executive Office of the President (EOP) -- The legislation contains $650 million for the EOP -- a reduction of $9 million below last year's level -- and includes a reduction of all salaries and expense accounts within the office. The bill restores funding for drug control programs within the EOP, including $239 million for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), and $92 million for Drug Free Communities. In addition, the legislation requires reports from the EOP on several issues, including cost projections of implementing Dodd-Frank financial regulations, efforts to reduce regulatory burdens, and the effects of possible future sequestration budget cuts.
Small Business Administration (SBA) -- The bill contains $1.2 billion for the SBA, an increase of $240 million above last year. Small businesses are the driver of the American economy, and SBA loans and programs play an important part in helping small businesses start and grow. To this end, the bill provides $1.5 billion in lending authority above the President's request to support $17.5 billion in 7(a) business loans, and $7.5 billion of 504 loan activity. The legislation also fully funds disaster loan implementation costs, which will allow for a quick and efficient loan process when small businesses and individuals are hit by unexpected natural disasters.
Judiciary -- Included in the bill is $6.5 billion for the Federal Courts -- a decrease of $23 million below last year. Funding increases are provided for security requirements, while funding for court and chambers operations are reduced. The legislation also prohibits funding for circuit court judicial conferences.
District of Columbia -- The bill contains a $667 million federal payment to the District of Columbia -- virtually equal to last year's level. This includes funding for important public safety and security programs, including the D.C. Superior Court and the Offender Supervision Agency. In addition, the bill includes $60 million -- the full authorized level -- for the SOAR Act, which provides scholarships to low-income students in DC to attend private schools.
The bill also maintains longstanding provisions prohibiting federal and local funds from being used for abortion, as well as prohibitions on federal funds from being used for needle exchange and medical marijuana programs in the District of Columbia.
General Services Administration (GSA) -- The bill allows the GSA to spend $7.9 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund, a cut of $101 million compared to last year's level and $702 million below the President's request. The legislation also reduces Federal Buildings Fund administrative expenses by 14%.
Given the GSA's questionable spending of tax dollars, the bill includes several new, strong oversight measures, including quarterly spending reports, limits on cash awards to GSA employees, prohibitions on all travel and conferences that do not comply with the law or regulations, and an Inspector General report into procedures related to travel, conferences, and employee awards.
Other Independent Agencies --
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) -- The CPSC is funded at $114.5 million in the bill, which is equal to last year's level. The legislation also requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which has been under scrutiny for mandating overly burdensome and potentially damaging regulations.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) -- The bill includes a provision to change the funding source for the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the Congressional Appropriations process, starting in fiscal year 2014. This will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency's activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires quarterly reports on CFPB's activities and spending, and allows Congress to review any funding transfers the agency receives from the Federal Reserve.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- The bill contains $323 million for the FCC -- a cut of $17 million below last year's level.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- The bill provides $285.5 million for the FTC, which is $26 million below last year's level.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) -- Included in the bill is $1.4 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is $50 million above last year's level. The legislation includes a prohibition on the SEC from spending any money out of its "reserve fund" -- essentially a slush fund for SEC programs that Congress has not approved.
Other Legislative Provisions -- The legislation contains several policy provisions, including:
A longstanding prohibition against the use of Federal funds for abortion within Federal employee health benefits;
A provision prohibiting funding for White House "czars" -- specifically prohibiting czars related to health care, climate change, the auto industry, and urban affairs or any substantively similar positions;
A prohibition on funding to require entities applying for Federal contracts disclose campaign contributions.
For the Subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-112HR-SC-AP-FY13-FServices.pdf