Posted: 10:54 pm Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Omnibus funding bill released in Congress 

By Jamie Dupree

Congressional negotiators on Tuesday night released the text of a deal to fund operations of the federal government through the end of next September, except for operations on the Department of Homeland Security, which would be on a temporary budget through February 27, 2015, giving Republicans time to respond to President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration.

In a statement, top Democrats and Republicans labeled the agreement a “responsible, bipartisan and bicameral agreement on funding.”

The text of the bill runs 1,603 pages – if you want to wade through the details, it is posted on the on the House website.

If that is too daunting, then you can try the shorter 62 page summary of the bill provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lawmakers also released hundreds of pages of report language that further explains the provisions of the bill; it is proper to assume that most lawmakers and Congressional staff will not wade through ever printed word.

As for funding related to immigration, there are no constraints in the bill that would block the President from going forward with his recent executive actions on immigration.

Other things that caught my eye

Going through the text of the bill and the report language, a number of things caught my eye. In no particular order of importance:

+ NASA’s budget would be $18 billion, an increase of $364 million

+ The Inspector General at the Treasury Department – which has conducted much of the investigation into the IRS – will get a budget boost of $600,000

+ The IRS will see a budget cut of $345.6 million

+ $170 million extra would go to weather forecasting efforts

+ The White House gets $222 million for its operations, an increase of $10 million

+ EPA would have its budget reduced by $61 million

+ The funding plan again requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days a week

+ $42.6 million budget increase for the Centers for Disease Control (to $6.92 billion)

+ The Government Printing Office would change its name to the Government Publishing Office

+ Spending for the Legislative Branch would go up $42 million to $4.3 billion; over one third of that increase would go to the Government Accountability Office

+ The bill ends a 5% discount on tobacco and tobacco related products sold at military exchanges

+ The Army Corps of Engineers would see a $922 million increase in funding; the spending plan allows for 10 new Army Corps studies in 2015 and 4 new construction starts

+ Civilians and members of the military would get a 1% pay increase in 2015

+ $80 million extra would be spent on the surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children, raising that spending to $948 million

+ $14 million would be funneled to local governments to deal with extra costs from increased enrollments due to this year’s surge in kids over the border

I’m sure there are more tidbits to discover in the bill. A vote is expected in the House on Thursday, the day that funding runs out for Uncle Sam.

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