President Obama has signed into law the fiscal 2015 hybrid spending plan, HR 83. HR 83 is dubbed “CRomnibus” because it contains a combination of a continuing (spending) resolution only for the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, 2015 and an omnibus spending plan for the remaining government agencies through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. HR 83 passed the US House 219-206. 67 conservative republicans joined 139 Democrats to unsuccessfully oppose the spending measure. In the U.S. Senate 18 republicans joined 12 democrats to oppose the CRomnibus. These votes in both legislative chambers will be useful in forecasting votes in the upcoming 114th Congress. Other important issues in/out of the CRomnibus include:
In a rebuke of House conservatives HR 83 does not contain language blocking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using funds to carry out the Obama Administration’s executive action on immigration. Leadership decided to extend DHS’ spending through February 27, 2015 and fight another day on the issue when republicans are in charge of both legislative chambers in the 114th Congress. The measure passed with a sufficient number of Democrats supporting it.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the financial regulator that oversees the futures and over-the-counter derivatives markets, will receive $250 million for its FY 2015 budget. That’s more than the $218 million the House spending bill provided but less than the $280 million the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services originally proposed.
Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
The bill includes $372 million for PILT, a program that provides funds to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their jurisdictions. When combined with the PILT funding authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, the total for PILT next year is the full amount, $442 million.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is funded at $1.4 billion, $12 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Within the total, the bill provides: $1 million to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves; $2 million to stop the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels in the West.
U.S. Forest Service
The bill provides $5.1 billion for the U.S. Forest Service to prevent and suppress wildfires. The legislation also includes a provision requiring the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service to report on non-emergency closures of public lands to hunting, fishing, shooting, and other recreational activities. To Be Continued…