Senate Democrats

Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (Senate Omnibus)

Summary

This week, the Senate will consider the Fiscal Year 2011 Consolidated Appropriations Act [link to full text], legislation to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2011.  The Senate Omnibus measure is a substitute amendment to the Continuing Resolution, H.R.3082, which passed the House on December 8, 2010. 

The Senate Omnibus is $29 billion below the cost of the budget proposed by the President and equal to the topline Budget Authority level of $1.108 trillion as proposed in the Sessions-McCaskill discretionary spending cap amendment.  Less than one percent of the total funding consists of Congressionally-directed funding, or earmarks, which were requested by both Republican and Democratic Senators.  This new funding for local projects will benefit thousands of communities and millions of Americans in all fifty states.

The Senate Omnibus is a compromise written with bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and with the majority in the House.  This legislation reflects a yearlong effort by members of both parties who worked together to examine the President’s budget request, hold hundreds of hearings and thousands of meetings, and seek justification from every federal department and agency regarding how taxpayer dollars are being spent. 

In terms of Congressionally-directed funding, it should be noted that this bill reflects a continuing Democratic effort to put a stop to the earmark abuse that festered while Republicans controlled the White House and Congress for six years.  In fact, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congressionally-directed spending has decreased by 75 percent since Democrats took control of the Senate.

In contrast to a Continuing Resolution, the Senate Omnibus fulfills the constitutional responsibility of Congress to provide federal agencies with the direction and the resources they require, most critically for national defense and homeland security.  If forced to continue operating under a Continuing Resolution for the next ten months, neither the President’s priorities nor Congressional priorities would be accommodated and programs would be funded at the amounts provided last year regardless of merit or need.  Furthermore, the Continuing Resolution abdicates responsibility for providing much needed oversight of the requests of the Executive Branch. 

Important policies and initiatives contained in the Senate Omnibus bill include the following:

  • Defense: $667.7 billion in new discretionary spending authority for the Department of Defense, including $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations.
  • Education: Enough funding to close the Pell Grant “shortfall,” thereby preventing a cut to the $5,550 maximum award for college students receiving financial aid.
  • Law Enforcement: $3.8 billion for State and Local Law Enforcement grants to aid local and state law enforcement and crime victims. 
  • Veterans: $2.6 billion for the health care needs of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, which represents an increase of $597 million over last year. 
  • Border Security: $3.58 billion to fully fund 20,500 Border Patrol agents, including over 17,000 who will be based on the Southwest Border.  This doubles the number of agents since 2004.

The Senate Omnibus also includes the Senate-passed version of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  (The DPC’s previous summary of this bill can be accessed by clicking here.)

Major Provisions

The following information was provided by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

I. Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Discretionary

FY 2010 Enacted:                  $23.135 billion

President’s Request:             $22.866 billion

Subcommittee Mark:            $22.125 billion

Mandatory

FY 2010 Enacted:                  $97.983 billion

President’s Request:             $109.12 billion

Subcommittee Mark:            $110.98 billion

The fiscal year 2011 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $22.125 billion in discretionary budget authority, a $1.01 billion discretionary decrease from fiscal year 2010 enacted level, and $741 million below the President’s request.  The most significant increases in the bill are in the areas of nutrition, farm support reimbursements (mandatory spending), international food assistance, and food and drug safety, all of which are reflective of the state of the economy, agricultural market conditions, and the world situation.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

II. Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

2010 Enacted:                        $64.4 billion (excludes emergency appropriations)

President’s Request:             $60.5 billion

Omnibus Agreement:           $58.0 billion

The agreement totals $58.0 billion in discretionary budget authority for fiscal year 2011, $6.4 billion below fiscal year 2010, and $2.5 billion below the President’s request.

Priorities for the agreement include: keeping America safe from terrorism and violent crime; investing in America’s scientific infrastructure to create new technologies and new jobs; and ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer funds by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

III. Defense

The Defense Division of the bill provides $667.7 billion in new discretionary spending authority for the Department of Defense for functions under the Defense Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, including $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations.  The recommendation is $10.3 billion below the President’s FY 2011 base budget request and provides $4 billion in General Transfer Authority.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

IV. Energy & Water Development

The FY 2011 bill would provide a total of $34.519 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior water programs, and the Department of Energy (DOE).  The Subcommittee legislation is $825.3 million below President Obama’s budget request and $1.054 billion above the FY 2010 enacted level.  The Subcommittee legislation would fund research in energy efficiency technologies, renewable energy, fossil energy, and other energy activities as well nuclear cleanup, nuclear weapons and nonproliferation initiatives. 

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

V. Financial Services and General Government

Discretionary Funding: $24.472 billion

Compared to President’s Request ($25.518 billion) (- $1.046 billion) (4 percent decrease)   

Compared to FY10 Enacted ($24.35 billion)  + $117 million (0.4 percent increase)

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

VI. Homeland Security

FY 2010 Enacted: $42.665 billion (Includes Coast Guard Overseas Contingencies, excludes emergencies)

FY 2011Request: $43.890 billion (Includes Coast Guard Overseas Contingencies)

FY 2011 Consolidated bill: $43.548 billion (Includes Coast Guard Overseas Contingencies)

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

VII. Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

2010 Enacted level:                           $32.2 billion

2011 President’s request:                  $32.4 billion

2011 Senate bill:                                 $32.2 billion

An overall amount of $32.2 billion in non-emergency discretionary spending authority is provided for a broad array of programs that help our communities, safeguard our public lands, protect our natural resources, strengthen Native American and Alaska Native programs, and supports our most treasured cultural institutions, memorials and monuments.  The recommended amount is the same as the fiscal year 2010 enacted level and $178.3 million below the President’s request.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

VIII. Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

The fiscal year 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that the Senate will consider as part of the omnibus provides $174.5 billion in discretionary funding for a range of programs that will help create jobs and train American workers, target fraud and abuse, and incentivize States and local communities to reform their health, workforce and education systems.

Highlights include a new $300 million Early Learning Challenge Fund that will provide grants to States to raise the quality of early childhood programs; $217 million for new Workplace Innovation Funds that will improve the delivery of education and training to workers; and an increase of $681 million for childcare services that will help low-income workers hold down a job.  The bill also provides sufficient funding to close the Pell Grant “shortfall” and prevent a cut to the $5,550 maximum award, and additional funding to improve mine safety.

Increases in programs such as these are balanced by significant efforts to eliminate government waste.  The bill eliminates 17 programs totaling nearly $393 million. It also appropriates an increase of $160 million to target fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, plus additional funds for program integrity efforts for Social Security and unemployment insurance.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

IX. Legislative Branch

2010 Enacted:                        $4.669 billion

2011 Request:                        $5.131 billion

Committee Mark:      $4.630 billion

The Fiscal Year 2011 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill totals $4.630 billion, which is $39.4 million below the 2010 enacted level and $501.4 million below the request.  Chairman Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) has achieved his goal of leading by example in reducing Legislative Branch spending in FY 2011.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

X. Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

Fiscal year 2011 funding for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies totals $141 billion, including $75.6 billion in discretionary funding, $64.3 billion in VA mandatory funding, and $1.25 billion in emergency war funding.  Discretionary funding is $419 million below the President’s FY 11 budget request and $1 billion below the FY 10 enacted level.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

XI. State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

FY 2011 Budget Request: $56.6 billion

FY 2011 Omnibus: $53.5 billion

The bill provides $17.17 billion for Department of State and related agency operations, a decrease of $77.68 million below the President’s request and $1.22 billion above the FY10 enacted level.  The bill also provides $1.39 billion for USAID operating expenses, which is $80.47 million below the President’s request and $3.2 million above the FY10 level, and a total of $22.97 billion for bilateral economic assistance, which is $1.6 billion below the request and $1.12 billion above the FY10 level.

Other funding includes $9.18 billion for international security assistance and peacekeeping operations, $781 million below the request and $2.19 billion above the FY10 level; $2.91 billion for multilateral economic assistance, which is $388.89 million below the President’s request and $481.16 million above the FY10 level; and funding for export and investment assistance.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

XII. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Budget Authority Only         Total Resources

FY 2010 Enacted:      $67.9 billion                           $122.2 billion

FY 2011 Request        $68.8 billion                           $123.7 billion

Omnibus                     $66.3 billion                           $121.3 billion

Overall, the fiscal year 2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes budget authority of $66.3 billion.  This level of budget authority is $1.6 billion or 2 percent below the 2010 enacted level, and $2.5 billion or almost 4 percent below the President’s Request.  Total funding, including limitations on obligations related to programs funded by the Highway Trust Fund, is $121.3 billion.  This total funding level is $900 million or almost 1 percent below the 2010 enacted level, and $2.4 billion or 2 percent below the President’s Request.

The bill helps our communities and transportation system by focusing on five priority areas:

  • Investing in transportation infrastructure;
  • Providing housing and services to our Nation’s most vulnerable;
  • Supporting our communities and addressing the foreclosure crisis;
  • Ensuring the safety of our transportation system; and
  • Promoting sustainability in our communities.

A detailed summary of this Division of the bill is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

Legislative History

The House-passed Continuing Resolution that is now pending in the Senate, H.R.3082, originated in the House on June 26, 2009, as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010.  On December 8, 2010, the House amended a Senate-passed version of this bill with a government-wide Continuing Resolution as a substitute amendment.  This House-passed Continuing Resolution was received in the Senate on December 9, 2010. 

On December 14, 2010, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Inouye released details of the Senate Omnibus bill, which will be offered as a substitute amendment to the House-passed Continuing Resolution.  The Senate is expected to vote on this legislation during the week of December 13, 2010. 

At present, a Continuing Resolution, H.J.Res.101, is in effect through December 18, 2010.

Expected Amendments

DPC will circulate any information related to amendments to its staff listservs.

Administration Position

As of this writing, the White House has not yet released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the Senate FY11 Omnibus measure. (Previous SAPs were issued for H.R.3082 when this bill was the appropriations measure for military construction and veterans affairs.)  When a new SAP is released, it is expected to be posted to the White House website here.

Resources

  • Congressional Research Service’s list of key CRS reports on appropriations
  • THOMAS chart on the status of FY11 appropriations legislation
  • Bill Summary & Status information for H.R.3082, the legislative vehicle for the Senate Omnibus bill
  • Bill Summary & Status information for H.J.Res101:">H.J.Res.101, the Continuing Resolution currently in effect through December 18, 2010
  • Links to Senate Appropriations Committee webpages:

o   Senate Omnibus Full Bill Text and Explanatory Statement (Divisions A through C)

o   Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, and Earmark Chart

o   Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart, and Corrections to Prior Year Earmarks

o   Defense: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Energy & Water Development: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart   

o   Financial Services and General Government: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Homeland Security: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Legislative Branch: Website, Bill Division Summary

o   Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

o   Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: Website, Bill Division Summary, Earmark Chart

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