Congressman Sestak Votes for Passage of War Supplemental: Appropriations measure also contains vital funding for Gulf relief, education, veterans, border control
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joe Sestak (PA-07) voted for, and the House passed, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. This measure funds ongoing contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the President’s surge of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, as announced last December.
The base bill, as adopted by the Senate, provides $45.5 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2010, of which $37.12 billion is provided for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House amendment adds a number of high priority initiatives which are fully offset. These include $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund, $4.95 billion for Pell Grants, $701 million for border security, $180 million for innovative technology energy loans, $163 million for schools on military installations, $142 million in additional Gulf Coast oil spill funding, $50 million in emergency food assistance, and $16.5 million to build a new soldier processing center at Fort Hood.
The bill also sets a discretionary spending limit of $1.12 trillion for FY 2011, $7 billion less than the President’s request and $3 billion less than the Senate limit. Additionally, it aligns the House pay-as-you-go rules with the statutory pay-as-you-go procedures under current law. The resolution also stipulates that any savings created by the enactment of legislation recommended by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform would be set aside in a reserve fund to ensure that such savings are used only for deficit reduction, and are not available to offset the cost of future legislation.
“I supported the President’s strategy in Afghanistan and have continued to vote for its funding because of Al Qaeda’s safe haven in Pakistan,” said the Congressman. “If we change course prematurely, we could leave Al Qaeda too much ability to plan against us, and we end up having to return because of their safe haven in Pakistan. If we do not address the threat there now, the cost in lives and treasure could be exponentially greater if that nation fails,” the Congressman continued.
Congressman Sestak voted against the Lee Amendment, which would have terminated all funding for the war in Afghanistan except for withdrawal and humanitarian aid. Additionally, he voted against the Obey-McGovern-Jones Amendment, which, among other provisions, would have required Congress to pass a joint resolution by July 1, 2011 for the war in Afghanistan to continue. He also opposed a third amendment which would have removed all war funding from the bill for Afghanistan.
“I support some elements of the Obey-McGovern Amendment,” said the Congressman. “Last year, I voted for an amendment to the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act which, like Obey-McGovern, would have required the President to deliver an exit strategy. During my tenure in the Clinton Administration as Director of Defense Policy, I authored a National Security Strategy which stated that for every conflict, we should promulgate an exit strategy. We must never allow ourselves to get caught in a quagmire that drains our treasury and readiness, strains our alliances, and ends up leaving us more vulnerable. Therefore, we must have benchmarks and a clear trajectory to demonstrate to the American people that their sacrifice is necessary, that we have a plan that is working, and that our efforts can achieve a definable victory,” the Congressman continued.
“However, this amendment, in balance, was premature and the manner of its implementation remains unclear. While I support stringent oversight over this conflict, which I have worked to provide as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I did not think it was appropriate to put strings on Fiscal Year 2011 funding which has not even been appropriated yet. Additionally, it would be a highly subjective interpretation, under this amendment, of what constitutes obligation of funding “in a manner that is inconsistent with the President’s policy…to begin the orderly withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan after July 1, 2011,” said the Congressman.
“While I voted against this proposal, I will continue to call upon the President and Secretary Gates to deliver an appropriate exit strategy based on quantifiable metrics and clear benchmarks that would assess our progress and a trigger an exit strategy if we are successful or a change in course if our goals were not being met in Pakistan,” said the Congressman. “Ultimately, we can’t get caught policing an interminable civil war or stuck in an endless project of building another nation when we’ve got a nation that needs building right here. I agree with the President’s December statement that “this effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check are over.”
Summary of H.R. 4899 – Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010
The House of Representatives will act on the 2010 supplemental appropriations bill for efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti and pressing domestic needs this week. The Appropriations Committee is proposing an amendment to H.R. 4899 to add additional, fully offset, investments to meet domestic needs, such as education jobs and border security.
The Senate bill provides a total of $45.5 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2010, of which $37.12 billion is provided for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also provides $5.1 billion for FEMA disaster relief, $2.9 billion for Haiti, $162 million for the Gulf Coast oil spill, and over $600 million for other domestic needs in discretionary appropriations. Additionally, the bill includes $13 billion in mandatory funding for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange as requested by the President.
The House amendment adds $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund, $4.95 billion for Pell Grants, $701 million for border security, $180 million for innovative technology energy loans, $163 million for schools on military installations, $142 million in additional Gulf Coast oil spill funding, $50 million in emergency food assistance, and $16.5 million to build a new soldier processing center at Fort Hood.
In order to hold the total amount to the President’s requested level over a ten-year period, the amendment includes $11.7 billion in rescissions from programs that no longer require the funding, have sufficient funds on hand, or do not need the funding this year or next and $4.7 billion in savings from changes to mandatory programs. In total, the amendment saves the Federal Government $493 million over ten years compared to the President’s request.
The amendment also provides $538 million for program integrity investments that are proven to produce 1½ times that in savings.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS IN HOUSE AMENDMENT
Education Jobs: $10 billion, fully offset, for an Education Jobs Fund to provide additional emergency support to local school districts to prevent impending layoffs. It is estimated that this fund will help keep 140,000 school employees on the job next year.
Process: The fund will be administered by the Department of Education. After reviewing State applications, the Department will make formula allocations to States based on total population and school age population. States will then distribute the funds to school districts through their respective funding formulas or based on each district’s share of Title I funds. In the case that a Governor does not submit an approvable application for funds to the Department of Education, the bill directs the Secretary to bypass the State government and make awards directly to other entities within the State.
Requirements: The bill includes strict provisions to ensure that States use these funds only for preservation of jobs serving elementary and secondary education, and not to supplant State spending on education.
Ø Amounts from the Education Jobs Fund may not be used for purposes such as equipment, utilities, renovation, or transportation.
Ø The bill prohibits States from using any of these funds to add to “Rainy-Day Funds” or to pay off State debt.
Ø In order to receive an Education Jobs Fund grant, each State must provide assurance that State spending for both K-12 and higher education (measured separately) in fiscal year 2011 will be at or above either:
1. the fiscal year 2009 level (in aggregate or per pupil);
2. the same percentage share of the total State budget as in fiscal year 2010, or;
3. for states demonstrating especially dire fiscal conditions, the 2006 fiscal year aggregate dollar level or percentage share.
NOTE: More stringent rules apply to the State of Texas.
Pell Grants: $4.95 billion, fully offset, to address the current year shortfall in the Pell Grant Program that was unanticipated last year. Over 8 million students received Pell grants this year.
Border Security: $701 million to strengthen enforcement on the southern border, including:
· $208.4 million for 1,200 additional Border Patrol agents deployed between the ports of entry along the Southwest Border.
· $136 million to maintain current Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer staffing levels and add 500 additional officers at ports of entry along the Southwest Border.
· $35.5 million for improved tactical communications on the Southwest Border, three permanent Border Patrol forward operating bases, and a surge of workforce integrity investigations designed to prevent corruption among CBP officers and agents.
· $50 million for Operation Stonegarden grants to support local law enforcement activities on the border.
· $32 million to procure two additional CBP unmanned aircraft systems.
· $30 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities directed at reducing the threat of narcotics smuggling and associated violence.
· $50 million that may be used to deploy National Guard troops to the southern border should the President decide to do so.
· $201 million for Justice Department programs, as requested.
Gulf Oil Spill: $304 million for the Gulf Coast oil spill. The Senate bill carried $162 million, including: $83 million for unemployment assistance related to the oil spill and an oil spill relief employment program; $7 million for NOAA oil spill response activities, including scientific investigations and sampling; $14 million to respond to economic impacts on fishermen; $10 million for Justice legal activities; $5 million for economic recovery planning; and $31 million for the Department of the Interior to conduct additional inspections and enforcement and to strengthen oversight and regulation and for the EPA to conduct a long-term risk study. The House amendment adds $12 million for the newly created Presidential Commission investigating the spill; and $130 million for an unemployment benefits program for the self-employed (i.e., fisherman) and for training and employment services.
Emergency Food Assistance: $50 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program for food purchases to distribute through local emergency food providers.
Schools on DoD Installations: $163 million to improve the capacity and condition of elementary and secondary schools located on DoD installations.
Energy Loans: $180 million to allow $18 billion in innovative technology energy loans, split evenly between nuclear and renewable energy programs.
Fort Hood Soldier Processing Center: $16.5 million for the replacement of the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, the site of the 2009 shooting.
Program Integrity Funding: $538 million to strengthen waste, fraud and abuse prevention and enforcement for Medicare, Medicaid and the IRS. Research shows that for every $1.00 invested into identifying and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in government spending, we get $1.50 back.
UNDERLYING SENATE PROVISIONS
FEMA Disaster Relief: $5.1 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, as requested by the President and included in the Senate bill. The request is necessary to pay for known costs for past disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Gustav, the Midwest floods of 2008, and the California wildfires and for needs that emerge from new disasters.
Veterans: $13.377 billion in mandatory appropriations in 2010, as included in the Senate bill, for the payment of benefits to Vietnam veterans and their survivors for exposure to Agent Orange, which has been linked with Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease, and hairy cell/B cell leukemia. An estimated 86,069 people will be eligible to receive retroactive payments and 67,259 people will be eligible to receive new benefits.
Haiti: $2.93 billion provided in the Senate bill for Haiti, $130 million above the request.
Farm Loans: $31.5 million, supporting $950 million in farm loans, included in the Senate bill for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide direct loans to family farmers who may not qualify for agricultural credit through other commercial institutions in the tight credit market. The funding provided in the FY 2010 appropriation bill was estimated to meet demand at the time the bill was passed, but demand for the farm ownership and operating loan programs continues to rise above historical levels due to the lack of availability of conventional credit.
Disaster Assistance: $100 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding included in the Senate bill to help local communities devastated by flooding this year.
Mine Safety: $22 million included in the Senate bill to reverse the growing backlog of mine safety enforcement cases while ensuring that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) can complete 100% of its mandated mine inspections.
Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: $2 million included in the Senate bill to allow the Commission to investigate the causes of the recent financial crisis. The Commission is tasked with submitting its report by December, 2010.
Capitol Police: $13 million included in the Senate bill for the ongoing acquisition and installation of a modern digital radio system because of known security threats.
Port of Guam: $50 million, as requested, included in the Senate bill to improve and provide greater access to port facilities.
Highway Safety: $15 million included in the Senate bill for additional studies of sudden acceleration and to administer fuel economy standards.
Rural Housing Loans: the Senate bill provides authority to continue making loans, and protects low-income borrowers from the loan fee increase.
Army Corps of Engineers: $178 million included in the Senate bill to respond to natural disasters.
Mississippi River and Tributaries: $18.6 million included in the Senate bill to respond to disasters.
Emergency Drought Relief: $10 million included in the Senate bill to respond to droughts in the West.
Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies: $20 million provided in the Senate bill for the Army Corps.
Fisheries Disasters: $26 million provided in the Senate bill and offset by a NOAA rescission.
Economic Development Administration: $49 million provided in the Senate bill.
Emergency Forest Restoration: $18 million provided in the Senate bill.
Coast Guard: $16 million provided in the Senate bill for aircraft replacement.
The bill includes $11.7 billion in rescissions from programs that no longer require the funding, have sufficient funds on hand, or do not need the funding this year or next. It also includes $4.7 billion in savings from changes in mandatory programs. Rescissions include:
· $69.9 million in funds appropriated before 2008 to the Department of Agriculture.
· $122 million in funding provided to the Department of Agriculture for emergencies that have been completed.
· $487 million in Recovery Act and other funding provided to the Department of Agriculture for WIC.
· $27.3 million in emergency funding for the Farm Service Agency provided as early as 2004 that are no longer needed.
· $602 million in Recovery Act funding provided to the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce for broadband grants.
· $112 million in funding provided in the Recovery Act for digital television.
· $15 million in funding provided in the Recovery Act for NIST construction.
· $2 billion in funding appropriated as early as 2006 to the Defense Department.
· $500 million in funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for military construction projects that achieved bid savings.
· $262 million in Recovery Act funding provided to the Department of Defense.
· $177 million in funding appropriated to the Defense Department for HMMWVs they no longer plan to purchase.
· $116 million appropriated for the Non-Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) which the Army has terminated.
· $100 million appropriated to the Army for Operations and Maintenance, because of slow execution of some programs within the account
· $87 million appropriated for SINCGARS radios and other Army procurement programs that have not been spent as quickly as planned.
· $237 million in funds appropriated for Army Corps of Engineers projects now terminated or completed, or for projects that have not utilized allocated funding for several years.
· $800 million in funding provided to the Department of Education for new discretionary grant awards.
· $329 million in funding appropriated as early as 2009 to the Department of Energy, (including out-year savings).
· $18 million in funding appropriated as early as 2005 to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
· $100 million in funding appropriated to the General Services Administration.
· $6 million in funds appropriated in 1995 to the Department of Health and Human Services.
· $2 billion in funding appropriated as early as 2004 to the Department of Health and Human Services for pandemic flu and procurement of new biological countermeasures.
· $200 million in funding for DHS border efforts currently frozen due to secretarial review.
· $36 million in funds appropriated in 2006 to FEMA.
· $7 million in funds appropriated in 2006 to the Coast Guard.
· $53.8 million in funds appropriated as early as 2007 for research in DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection office.
· $6.6 million in funds appropriated in 2007 to the Transportation Security Administration.
· $80 million in Recovery Act funding appropriated to the Department of Interior, EPA, and Forest Service.
· $33 million in funding provided in 1997 and 2004 to the National Park Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service.
· $2.7 million in funds appropriated in 2010 to the Judiciary.
· $11 million in funds appropriated in 1989 to the Federal Highway Administration.
· $8 million in funds appropriated in 2004 and 2006 to the Federal Aviation Administration.
· $112 million in funds appropriated in 2008 for Hurricanes Ike and Gustav and Midwest Floods.
· $400 million in funds appropriated in 2008 for CDBG for Hurricane Katrina.
· $2.2 billion in highway contract authority.
· $44 million in unused Recovery Act funding from the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program (aka Cash for Clunkers).
· $40 million in Recovery Act funding appropriated to the State Department.
· $150 million in funding appropriated for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
· $70 million in funding appropriated to the Department of State and USAID for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative.
· $6 million in Recovery Act funding provided to the Department of Veterans Affairs for which the purpose has been completed.
· $5 million in funding appropriated to the Architect of the Capitol.
Iran Sanctions: The House amendment prohibits funding from being provided for any new contract unless the contractor has certified that it, and any entities it controls, does not engage in activity that could be sanctioned under section 5 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.
No Fly List: The Senate bill requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require commercial foreign air carriers to check the list of individuals TSA has prohibited from flying no later than 30 minutes after the list has been updated.
High-Value Detainee Interrogations: The Senate bill requires the FBI to submit the High-Value Detainee Interrogation procedures, and any updates to those procedures, to the Congress within 30 days.
Defense Jobs Estimates: The House amendment requires an assessment of the number of jobs and costs associated with new major defense acquisitions planned for 2011.
Preserving Access to Affordable Generic Drugs: The House amendment includes a provision to strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to restrict lucrative “pay for delay” payments by brand-name drug manufacturers to their generic competitors to delay the manufacture and marketing of more affordable generic drugs to consumers. In 2009, an FTC study found that a ban on these lucrative sweetheart drug industry deals would save American consumers $35 billion over 10 years. CBO estimates that with the provision in this bill, the federal government will save more than $2.4 billion over 10 years in lower drug costs for Medicare, Medicaid, military and veterans’ health programs.
Medicaid AMP Computation: Medicaid AMP Computation: The House amendment includes a provision to clarify the calculation of the “Average Manufacturer Price” (AMP), which determines the amount of manufacturer rebates to the federal government for outpatient drugs purchased by the Medicaid program. This technical correction to the health care reform bill affects certain injectable, infusible, and inhalation drugs. It will save the American taxpayers $2.1 billion over 10 years.
Public Safety Collective Bargaining: The House amendment guarantees collective bargaining rights for the nation’s first responders employed by States and localities. Under the language, states would administer and enforce their own labor laws, while the Federal Labor Relations Authority would step in only where such laws do not exist or do not meet minimum standards. The language prohibits public safety officers from engaging in a lockout, sickout, work slowdown, strike, or any other organized job action that will disrupt the delivery of emergency services.
FHA Loan Authority: The House amendment increases the loan commitment authority for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure mortgages for multi-family housing, hospitals and health care facilities. This increase in authority is necessary in order to avoid a disruption or suspension in the financing of these facilities.