The short-term continuing resolution unveiled today by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Roger (R., Ky.) would keep the government running for three weeks (through April 8) and cut spending by $6.1 billion (at a rate of about $2 billion per week). That is significantly more than the $4.7 billion Senate Democrats were willing to cut over seven months.
All of the recommended cuts in the bill were included in H.R. 1, the long-term spending resolution passed by the House in February that would have cut $61 billion over a seven-month period. It does not, however, contain any of the controversial policy riders, e.g., defunding of the EPA and Planned Parenthood, from the original bill. Many of the cuts were also supported by President Obama in his 2012 budget request. Like the previous short-term resolution, which expires March 18, this bill is expected to pass both the House and Senate with large bipartisan support. That said, some on both sides of the debate have indicated their displeasure with the idea of continuing to fund the government on a week-to-week basis (see here and here).
What does the CR actually cut? It saves $2.6 billion simply by eliminating earmarked funding that was automatically renewed in the continuing resolution passed during the lame-duck session in December. The remaining $3.5 billion in saving is achieved by eliminating 25 federal programs, listed here courtesy of the appropriations website:
- Preserve America (National Park Service) = -$4.6 million. This grant program – which promotes “heritage tourism” – was not funded in the President’s budget request.
- Save America’s Treasures grant program (National Park Service) = -$14.8 million. The program – originally slated as a two year initiative to commemorate the year 2000 Millennium – was not funded in the President’s budget request.
- Climate Effects Network – Science Application (U.S. Geological Survey) = -$10.5 million. This program to “provide data for forecasting the effects of climate change” was not funded in the President’s budget request.
- Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Funding (EPA) = -$5 million. This funding was provided by the last Congress for the EPA to assist Congress in enacting the Cap and Trade legislation. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request.
- Local Government Climate Change Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request. In addition, the Administration has indicated that this program lacks focus and effectiveness, and is too broad to allow fair competition for grants.
- Targeted Airshed Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. The program funds diesel retrofits and replacements for pollution reduction. Funding for similar programs is already available, and the program was not funded in the President’s budget request.
- Construction Funding Rescission (National Park Service) = -$25 million. This cut rescinds unobligated balances from completed construction projects.
- Wildland Fire Suppression Rescission (U.S. Forest Service) = -$200 million. These funds were carried over from last year, and were not needed or used for last year’s fire suppression efforts. This rescission was included Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- Single Family Housing (Department of Agriculture) = -$144 million. This reduction was requested in the President’s budget request. These funds for this unsubsidized loan guarantee are no longer necessary due to the authorization of a borrower fee. In addition, this reduction was included in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- Customs and Border Protection – Construction (Department of Homeland Security) =-$107 million. This rescission of unneeded construction and planning funding was requested by the agency, and was part of the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal.
- Emergency Steel Loans (Commerce Department) = -$48 million. The CR rescinds the remaining balances from prior year appropriations for the Emergency Steel, Oil, and Gas Guaranteed Loan Program Account. Only three loans have been made under this program and no new loans have been made since 2003. Similar rescissions were proposed in the President’s budget request.
- Public Telecommunications Facilities and Construction (Commerce Department = -$19 million. The mandated conversions of public television stations to digital broadcasting and other mandated conversion efforts are now completed and the funds are no longer necessary. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request.
- Census Rescission (Commerce Department) = -$1.74 billion. These funds were appropriated in Fiscal Year 2010 to conduct the 2010 Decennial Census. The Census is complete and these balances are no longer needed.
- Career Pathways Innovation Fund (Labor Department) = -$125 million. This reduction was included in the President’s budget request, as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal. This discretionary funding is not necessary as the program received $500 million in mandatory funding provided in the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”
- Community Service Employment for Older Americans (Labor Department) = -$225 million. This funding was originally provided as one-time funds. The funding was not included in the President’s budget request, nor the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- State Health Access Grants (Health and Human Services Department) = -$75 million. Only 13 states receive funding through this program, and the program was terminated in the President’s budget request.
- Flu Funding (Health and Human Services Department) = -$276 million. The bill reduces this “no-year” pandemic influenza funding, while continuing approximately $65 million in annual flu funding. There is sufficient carry-over funding available to the agency to cover any necessary long-term costs. This “no-year” funding was eliminated in the President’s request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- “Parklawn” Building Lease (Health and Human Services) = -$35 million. The bill reduces funding for the Public Health Service building in Rockville, MD. The reduction was included in the President’s budget request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting = -$50 million. The bill terminates the “Fiscal Stabilization Fund” which provides funding increases to public broadcasting stations to offset reduced public donations. The bill also terminates the “Radio Interconnection” project that was completed in 2010. These programs were also terminated in the President’s budget request as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
- Internet Technology Funds (Social Security Administration) = -$200 million. The CR reduces carry-over funding for information technology and telecommunication activities. The funds in this account do not expire – essentially creating a “slush fund” which totaled over $825 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2011. The SSA budget requested use of only $200 million of this funding this year, and the reduction of $200 million in this bill leaves more than sufficient funding available. This reduction was also included in the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal.
- Brownfields Redevelopment (Housing and Urban Development Department) = -$17.5 million. All activities undertaken by this program are also eligible for funding through the Community Development Block Grant. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s budget request.
- Railroad Safety Technology Program (Federal Railroad Administration) = -$50 million. The Department has not released significant grants under this program, and the technology is not yet fully developed. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s request.
- Chief Administrative Officer – Salaries and Expenses (House of Representatives) = -$1.5 million. This CR reduces 38 unneeded and unfilled House operations positions, and reduces contractor funding within the House of Representatives.
- Library of Congress – Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission = -$0.75 million. This commission is no longer in existence and therefore no funds are necessary.
- International Fund for Ireland (State Department) = -$17 million. This funding was expected to end last year, and the program’s annual report from last year states that they would not be seeking further contributions after 2010. This funding also was not requested in the President’s budget request.