Top 7 Things to Know about the Budget, and How Civilian Agencies Came out Ahead
Lawmakers agreed on a deal early Monday morning to fund the government and avoid a shutdown by week’s end.
Failing to reach a long-term deal, Congress passed the $1.1 trillion bill to keep government open through September.
While Democrats consider it a win, highlighting their ability to keep out 160 “poison pills,” many conservatives are angered the GOP did not drive a harder line given their majority in the government.
Nevertheless, below are the top things federal managers need to know about the bill.
The measure awarded the Pentagon approximately $15 billion more for the remainder of the year. While the sum sounds lofty, it is only slightly more than half of the $24.9 billion President Trump requested in his funding blueprint earlier this year.
Of that, $9 billion will go toward “immediate warfighting readiness” which includes fighting ISIS.
Because the money is categorized as overseas contingency operations (OCO) funds, they are no subject to congressional spending caps.
No Border Wall Funding
Instead of dedicated money for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, the President will get roughly $1.5 billion for border security which includes $722 million for barriers and gates along the border, increased technology and personnel, plus an additional $617 million for immigration enforcement.
Although the border was seen as a major obstacle to reaching a funding deal, with White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney pushing lawmakers to include such funding, calling it the administration's top priority in funding talks, Republicans settled on a budget deal devoid of border wall funding.
Lawmakers are expected to make another push for border wall funding this fall when negotiations take place for the 2018 budget.
EPA and DOE Survive
Originally slated for $247 million in cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency eked out with only a $81 million cut and no reductions in staff. And despite the President’s intent to slash or eliminate the Department of Energy’s research divisions, such programs received a $15 million funding increase for the year.
"Trump threatens a lot of things, but ultimately Congress is going to what it wants to do," said Stan Collender, a budget analyst and executive vice president of Qorvis MSLGroup in Washington. "What Congress is quickly learning is let the president talk as much as he wants, but ultimately we are going to present him with a bill he is either going to veto or not."
Funding for the IRS
The bill freezes the IRS’ budget at last year’s amounts, rejecting the Obama administration’s proposal to increase funding by $1 billion.
The bill includes more than $11 billion for the IRS, with roughly $290 million tied to “measurable improvements” on customer service, identity protection and cybersecurity.
New York to be Reimbursed for Trump Security
New York City will receive approximately $68 million for protecting President Trump and his family.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) praised the provision, saying it was the “right and fair thing to do” and adding that it was “ridiculous” to expect New York and other local governments to cover the cost.
James O'Neill, the New York City police commissioner, said earlier this year the city had spent $24 million on protection for Trump between the election and the inauguration, reports The Hill.
O’Neil estimated the New York Police Department spends up to $308,000 per day on security when Trump is in New York at Trump Tower.
Officials in Florida, where Trump frequently visits his Mar-A-Lago resort, have asked for federal funds as well.
OPM Gets More Funding
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will get a boost in funding for fiscal 2017 to the tune of $289.2 million, up $17.1 million from last year’s budget.
A larger amount of funding will go toward OPM’s Retirement Services to handle retirement claims and answer annuitant calls and emails, reports Federal News Radio.
The agency will also receive $11 million to strengthen OPM’s legacy and Shell environment IT systems and “the modernization, migration and testing of such systems.” OPM must submit reports to Congress detailing the full scope and cost of this IT project, and the agency’s inspector general must review the business case and comment on it.
GSA Funded Across the Board
Under the bill, GSA’s Federal Citizen Services Fund received $55 million which GSA will use to fund the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) which is folded into the Technology Transformation Service (TTS).
This is the same amount of funding it received last year. The fund acts as the middle man between agencies and public citizens who seek information or access to public services through various media channels.
GSA was also told to spend no less than $2 million on the Unified Shares Services Management Office, out of the $60 million appropriated to the Office of Governmentwide Policy.
The department is known as the government’s landlord, and under the appropriation bill, the department’s Federal Buildings Fund [not counting rental income to fund] receives $8.8 billion, down about $1.4 billion from the 2016 enacted budget, according to Federal News Radio.
Within the appropriations bill is $200 million for the FBI headquarters consolidation project — plus $323 million under the FBI’s appropriations.
Posted in From the Hill