Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Senate Appropriations Releases Highlights of FY2011 CR: This is bad but HR 1 would have been way worse

Via the Senate Appropriations Committee, a press statement on the Highlights of FY 2011 Continuing Resolution:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate Appropriations Committee released highlights of legislation filed today in the House of Representatives to fund the federal government through September 30, 2011.  The bill includes a separate division for the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Appropriations Act. The final compromise legislation negotiated with the House of Representatives contains significant spending reductions, but protects the vital economic and security interests of the United States.  In total, the Continuing Resolution (CR) cuts $78.5 billion from the President's Fiscal Year 2011 request and is $37.6 billion below Fiscal Year 2010.

The final legislation rejects the draconian cuts and onerous policy riders proposed in H.R. 1.  The reductions in funding levels agreed to in this bill will impact millions of Americans, and many good programs will suffer difficult cuts.  As these cuts must be implemented in just the remaining six months of the fiscal year, their impact will be especially painful in some instances.  However, the bill preserves critical programs that were targeted for cuts in H.R.1, including Head Start, Pell Grants, and vital scientific and medical research.  In keeping with the commitment Senate Democrats made earlier this year, no earmarks are funded in the bill.

Below are examples of programs that would have been seriously harmed by H.R. 1, undermining our economy and putting children and seniors at risk.  Under the bipartisan legislation negotiated by Congress and the White House, these crucial investments will continue. 

Protecting America's Vital Interests Abroad
  • H.R. 1 would have cut funding for the Department of State and foreign operations by $3.8 billion below the FY10 enacted level (not counting $6.1 billion in supplemental appropriations much of which was for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq), and $3.3 billion below the CR agreement.  It would have caused serious harm to U.S. embassy and consular operations which millions of Americans who live, work and study abroad depend on every day, and to programs that directly protect U.S. national security and other important diplomatic and economic interests, and which provide life-saving aid to victims of disease, war and natural disasters.  At the H.R. 1 level, total funding for foreign operations for the world's leading superpower would have fallen below a mere one percent of the Federal budget.
  • While the CR agreement will require a spending freeze for many diplomatic operations and foreign assistance programs at FY10 levels or below, unlike H.R. 1 it provides sufficient funds to enable the United States to continue to exert the global leadership the American people expect. 

What's next? Here is from the House on Rule for the FY11 Full Year CR and how it works:

Debate and votes on these issues, put in the form of concurrent resolutions adjusting the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (known as “enrollment correction resolutions”), will be directly tied to final passage of H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act via the rule providing for its consideration. Here’s how it will work:

The rule provides for consideration of H.R. 1473 (the full year CR), H.Con.Res. 35 (defunding of ObamaCare), and H.Con.Res. 36 (defunding of Planned Parenthood). The House will debate and vote on each of these items separately. Because H.R. 1473 represents a final agreement akin to a conference report and the enrollment correction resolutions are straight up or down votes, debate will be limited and no amendments will be allowed on any of the three items.(italics added)

It’s important to note that the enrollment corrections must be passed by both the House and Senate to be effective; neither body can make the changes without the consent of the other. It’s also important to remember that as the originating body of H.R. 1473, the House ultimately has custody of the official papers and is responsible for enrolling and presenting the bill to the President for his signature.

Upon passage of each measure, the House will send to the Senate the final version of a House appropriations bill, H.R. 1473, and the two enrollment correction resolutions.
  • If H.Con.Res. 35 and H.Con.Res. 36 also pass the Senate, the House Clerk will add the language in the resolutions as “corrections” to the final enrolled version of H.R. 1473.
  • If the enrollment correction resolutions do not pass the Senate, they will not be added to the final version of H.R. 1473 and it will be enrolled and sent to the President.
In order to ensure timely consideration of all three items, the rule will direct the Clerk of the House to refrain from finalizing the enrollment H.R. 1473 until the Senate holds votes on H.Con.Res. 35 and H.Con.Res. 36. The order and timing of the votes on all three items in the Senate will be determined by leadership of that body.

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