Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Bill
Legislation funds U.S. judicial system, law enforcement, and programs to bolster small businesses while targeting IRS and other underperforming agencies for cuts
June 10, 2015 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies.
The bill totals $20.2 billion in funding – $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $4.8 billion below the President’s budget request. With this funding, the legislation prioritizes critical national programs to enforce U.S. laws, maintain a fair and efficient judicial system, and help small businesses grow. In order to make these targeted investments, the bill reduces or eliminates lower-priority programs and cuts funding to poor-performing agencies – including an $838 million reduction to the Internal Revenue Service.
In addition, the bill includes several important policy provisions to rein in Administration overreach, cut bureaucratic red tape, and protect the rights of the American people. For example, the legislation includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing the individual mandate under ObamaCare, to protect the right to free speech and political involvement, and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from implementing a net-neutrality order.
“This is an important bill that will invest in programs to maintain the fundamental fabric of our nation – a just judicial system, an open marketplace that allows a fair and level playing field for all, and to provide opportunities for businesses large and small to thrive,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “While making good use of limited tax dollars, this legislation also makes great strides in reining in wasteful spending, and stopping harmful and unnecessary bureaucratic overreach.”
“Every day, Americans are making tough decisions about their own budgets and rightfully expect federal agencies to do the same. While it reflects a very tight budget, this bill makes investments to support economic growth and job creation through our small businesses, and to protect our citizens by strengthening the enforcement of laws and the administration of justice,” said Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw. “In addition, the bill reduces funding for nonessential areas, and holds the Administration and the Internal Revenue Service more accountable to the taxpayer.”
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Included in the bill is $10.1 billion for the IRS – a cut of $838 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2.8 billion below the President’s budget request. This will hold the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the fiscal year 2004 level. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, but will require the agency to streamline and better prioritize its budget. The bill also provides $2.2 billion – $75 million above current levels – for Taxpayer Services to measurably improve the rate that IRS answers telephone calls and correspondence from taxpayers.
In addition, due to the IRS’ inappropriate actions in targeting groups based on political beliefs, as well as its previous improper use of taxpayer funds, the bill includes the following provisions:
- A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many nonprofit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech, simply because they may be involved in political activity;
- A prohibition on funds for bonuses or to rehire former employees unless employee conduct and tax compliance is given consideration;
- A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs;
- A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights;
- A prohibition on funds for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences;
- A prohibition on funds for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization; and
- A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending.
ObamaCare –The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.
Judiciary – Included in the bill is $6.9 billion for the federal courts – an increase of $214 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This will provide sufficient funding for all federal court activities, the supervision of offenders and defendants living in our communities, court security, and the timely and efficient processing of federal cases.
Small Business Administration (SBA) – The bill contains $853 million for the SBA to help provide opportunities for American small businesses to get off the ground, grow our economy, and create more jobs for our workers. To this end, the bill fully funds business loans at $156 million, and fully funds disaster loan implementation costs at $187 million to allow for a quick and efficient process when unexpected natural disasters strike individuals and small businesses. The bill also funds several important programs above the President’s request, including a total of $117 million for Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), $12.3 million for the Small Business Veterans Outreach program, and $17 million for Women’s Business Centers (WBC).
General Services Administration (GSA) – The bill allows the GSA to spend $8.4 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund, a cut of $803 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This level of funding will cover the rent and other costs of buildings and properties owned or occupied by federal government agencies across the nation.
The legislation also helps to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the GSA inventory by providing $70 million for space consolidation and $26 million to dispose of surplus properties. In addition, the bill continues strong oversight measures, including reporting on spending and the status of GSA’s facilities portfolio.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – Included in the bill is $1.5 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $222 million below the President’s budget request. The bill targets funding towards critical information technology initiatives, and prohibits the SEC from spending any money out of its “reserve fund” – essentially a slush fund without any congressional oversight.
In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions and reporting requirements. For example, the bill requires the Administration to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act, prohibits the SEC from requiring the disclosure of political donation information in filings, and replaces the indemnification agreements with confidentiality agreements for swaps data repositories.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – The bill includes a provision to increase oversight over the CFPB by bringing funding for the agency under the annual congressional appropriations process, instead of direct funding from the Federal Reserve. This change will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency’s activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires extensive reporting on CFPB activities.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – The CPSC is funded at $122 million in the bill, $1 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $7 million below the request.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The bill contains $315 million for the FCC – a cut of $25 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $73 million below the request. The legislation prohibits the FCC from implementing net neutrality until certain court cases are resolved, requires newly proposed regulations to be made publicly available for 21 days before the Commission votes on them, and prohibits the FCC from regulating rates for either wireline or wireless Internet service.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – The bill provides $302 million for the FTC, which is $9.5 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $6.7 million below the request.
Executive Office of the President (EOP) – The legislation contains $676 million for the EOP, which is $12.3 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill denies the President’s proposed cuts of $70 million to drug control efforts, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities programs, and instead increases funding for these programs by $7 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill also includes a requirement that the Office of Management and Budget prepare budgetary impact statements for Executive Orders and Presidential Memorandums.
District of Columbia – The bill contains a $678 million federal payment to the District of Columbia – virtually equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $82 million below the request. Within this amount, the bill targets resources on public safety and security costs, and includes $45 million for the SOAR Act, which provides scholarships to low-income students in DC to attend private schools.
In addition, the legislation maintains provisions prohibiting federal and local funds from being used for abortion or to further marijuana legalization, and a prohibition on federal funds from being used for needle exchanges in the District of Columbia.
Other Legislative Provisions – The legislation contains several policy provisions, including:
- A prohibition against the use of funds for abortion in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program;
- A prohibition on funding to require that entities applying for or conducting work under federal contracts disclose campaign contributions;
- A prohibition on travel to Cuba for educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program, a prohibition on the importation of property confiscated by the Cuban Government, and a prohibition on financial transactions with the Cuban military or intelligence service;
- A prohibition on funds for an increase in pay for the Vice President and other senior political appointees; and
- A prohibition on funding to implement an Executive Order on flood management.
For the Subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-FServices-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf