Senate Democrats

H.J. Res. 20, the Fiscal Year 2007 Continuing Appropriations Resolution

Summary and Background

The third Continuing Resolution, a very restrictive resolution that funds thirteen of the fifteen departments of the government, will expire on February 15.   The resolution left serious gaps in funding for health care for our veterans and military personnel, schools, law enforcement, and agencies that provide key services to the elderly, such as the Social Security Administration and the 1-800-Medicare call centers.

H.J.Res.20, which totals $463.5 billion, and provides funding for the nine appropriations bills that were not completed during the 109th Congress, meets several goals:

  • Funding stays within the $872.8 billion cap on spending, which was set during the 109th Congress (when combined with the previously enacted Defense and Homeland Security Appropriations bills, spending totals $872.7 billion);
  • The legislation does not include earmarks.  There will be a temporary moratorium on earmarks until ethics reform legislation is approved, which will add greater transparency and accountability to the process of earmarking funds;
  • There is no emergency spending;
  • For most agencies, funding is set at the Fiscal Year 2006 level.  This formula replaces the current restrictive formula, which was based on the lower of the Fiscal Year 2006 or the unsustainable House-passed levels.  As a result, deep cuts approved by the Republican House during the 109th Congress will no longer have standing;
  • Funding for the Labor/HHS/Education bill is increased by $2.3 billion, which is $7 billion above the President’s request; and
  • Additional essential national priorities receive a boost in the legislation.  In order to help pay for these priorities, the resolution includes reductions of over $11 billion in 125 different accounts.

Summary of Program Funding

VA medical care.  The Veterans Administration (VA) will receive $32.3 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion over the Fiscal Year 2006 level, so that the VA can continue to meet the growing demand for health care for our veterans.  (This is an increase of $4.8 billion if Fiscal Year 2006 emergency spending from the base is excluded.)

Defense health initiatives.  The Department of Defense will receive $21.2 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion over Fiscal Year 2006 to provide care for military members and their families, including treating service members wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Consistent with the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Act, the President’s proposal to charge members of the military $735 million for their health care is rejected. 

Classroom funding.  Title I grants to K-12 schools is funded at $12.8 billion, an increase of $125 million over Fiscal Year 2006, which will provide approximately 38,000 additional low‑income children with intensive reading and math instruction.  In addition, H.J.Res.20 funds the Title I School Improvement Fund at $125 million to target assistance to the 6,700 schools that failed to meet No Child Left Behind requirements in the 2005-2006 school year.  This will enable schools to implement improvement activities, such as teacher training, tutoring programs, and curriculum upgrades.  The Education Department reports that four-fifths of high-poverty districts cannot afford these improvements.

College financial aid.  For the first time in four years, Pell Grants will expand, because of the $13.6 billion included in this legislation, which is an increase of $615.4 million over Fiscal Year 2006.  This will increase the maximum Pell grant by $260 to $4,310.  

Health research and medical care.  The National Institutes of Health is funded at $28.9 billion, an increase of $620 million over Fiscal Year 2006, for research to cure debilitating and deadly diseases.  Meanwhile, Community Health Centers receive $1.9 billion, an increase of $207 million, to finance more than 300 new or expanded health centers.

Coal mine safety.  H.J.Res.20 includes $300 million for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), an increase of $23 million over Fiscal Year 2006, and $13 million more than the request.  This funding level will allow the agency to continue its national efforts to hire and train new mine safety inspectors for safety in the nation’S.2,000 coal mines.

Law enforcement.  H.J.Res.20 increases funding for federal, state, and local law enforcement by $1.6 billion.  This includes an increase of $109 million for the Byrne Memorial Grants, and $542 million more for the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), violent crime is on the rise in America for the first time in 15 years.  In response, the legislation directs $6 billion to the FBI, an increase of $200 million over Fiscal Year 2006, to ensure that the FBI not only retains all of its special agents, but also completes the effort to double the number of intelligence analysts hired since September 11, 2001.  Other law enforcement programs receiving support include state and local law enforcement grants, Treasury financial fraud and anti-terrorism efforts, incarceration facilities, and other crime-prevention programs.

The federal judiciary.   H.J.Res.20 adjusts the funding levels that would otherwise be provided to the federal judiciary.  It provides $4.5 billion for the salaries and expense accounts of the Courts of Appeals, district courts and other judicial services, which is $172 million more than current funding, but $189 million less than requested.  The resolution directs that $20 million of this funding be available for critically understaffed workload needs relating to immigration and other law enforcement.

Federal highway administration.  The federal-aid highway program is fully funded at the level guaranteed in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) by providing an obligation limitation of $39.1 billion for Fiscal Year 2007, which is a $3.5 billion increase over the Fiscal Year 2006 enacted level.

Amtrak.  The legislation continues funding for Amtrak at the Fiscal Year 2006 level, thus providing $1.3 billion.  The administration requested $900 million for Amtrak in Fiscal Year 2007.

Global AIDS/malaria.  H.J.Res.20 includes $4.8 billion for Global AIDS and Malaria programs, an increase of $1.4 billion over Fiscal Year 2006 and $0.3 billion above the President’s request.

Food and drug safety.  The Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety and Inspection Service receives increases of $220 million over Fiscal Year 2006 in order to improve food and drug safety and to combat the threat of pandemic flu.

Technology and innovation.  Under the legislation, the Energy Office of Science receives an increase of $200 million over Fiscal Year 2006, the National Science Foundation receives an increase of $335 million, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology receives an increase of $50 million.

Energy independence.  The legislation provides an increase of $300 million over Fiscal Year 2006 for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs.

Housing.  H.J.Res.20 provides $15.9 billion for the Section 8 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Account, through which vouchers are provided to low-income individuals and families.  The total is $502 million more than the Fiscal Year 2006 level, as requested by the administration.  The legislation also provides approximately $6 billion for the Section 8 Project-Based Assistance account, under which rental subsidies are provided to landlords who enter into contracts and rent their property to low-income families.  The measure’s funding is $939 million more than the Fiscal Year 2006 level and $301 million more than requested.  The bill also amends current law regarding the HOPE VI Revitalization of Severely Distressed Public Housing program to authorize the program through the end of Fiscal Year 2007.  The program maintains the Fiscal Year 2006 funding level of $99 million.

Agriculture programs.  H.J.Res.20 provides the Food and Nutrition Service’s child nutrition program with $13 billion, which is a $685 million increase from Fiscal Year 2006.  Of this amount, $7.6 billion is in appropriated funds and $5.7 billion is transferred from the Agriculture Department’s administrative expenses account.

Federal workforce.  The legislation includes $785 million to provide federal agencies with 50 percent of the cost of the January 2007 pay raise in order to avoid Reductions in Force (RIFs) and furloughs.

Social Security and Medicare.  The resolution will avoid the service delays for Social Security and the 1-800-Medicare call centers.

Congressional pay.  The resolution would eliminate the 2007 pay raise for Members of Congress.

Legislative History

H.J.Res.20 is the fourth Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2007.  H.R.5631 was signed into law on September 26, 2006; H.J.Res.100 was signed into law on November 17, 2006; and H.J.Res.102 was signed into law on December 9, 2006.

On January 31, 2007, the House passed H.J.Res.20 by a vote of 286-140.  The resolution was the product of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations based on a framework agreed to by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Byrd. 

Last week, Senator Reid used the procedures in Rule XIV for Senate consideration of H.J.Res.20.

Expected Amendments

Information about possible amendments will be distributed as it becomes available. 

Statement of Administration Policy

The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on H.J.Res.20 on January 30, 2007.  The full statement is available at:

 H.R.Jr20sap-r.pdf">http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/110-1/H.R.Jr20sap-r.pdf

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