May 26, 2010
Summary – FY 2010 Emergency Supplemental for Defense, Veterans, Haiti Recovery, Gulf Oil Spill,
Border Security, and “Jobs” Funding
As we approach Memorial Day, when we honor those who have served our country, our troops have been waiting for four months to get much needed emergency supplemental funds for military operations overseas. In addition, our nation faces numerous disasters both here and abroad, but funds for emergency disaster relief have been allowed to run dangerously low.
The FY 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill– first requested by the President in January – should be focused on these critical national priorities. A “clean” supplemental that included funding for defense, disaster relief, and true unexpected emergency needs, should have passed with bi-partisan support months ago. But instead of passing a “clean” bill and identifying spending cuts to offset some of its cost, Democrats are using this much-pass legislation as a vehicle for over $30 billion in unrelated and flawed “jobs” spending.
The Democrat majority has failed to produce a budget this year. They have handed over responsibility for the nation’s unprecedented debt to a fiscal commission. At the same time, they have approved massive spending increases that have done little to improve unemployment or bolster the struggling economy. Now, the majority is trying to pass billions in additional extraneous spending on this legislation – this time on the backs of our troops in a critical war funding and disaster assistance bill.
The American people need an emergency troop funding and disaster assistance bill, but it should not be loaded up with billions in bailouts and yet more failed “stimulus” spending. Ranking Member Lewis must oppose the bill if this unnecessary spending is included, and if no serious attempts are made to find significant offsets to reduce the total cost.
The supplemental will cost the American people $84.3 billion dollars, which is $35.2 billion above the President’s request. The following is a summary of the various spending items included in the Democrats’ FY 2010 Emergency Supplemental:
Defense – Military Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
The supplemental contains a total of $32.5 billion for national defense which is equal to the President’s request. These funds include:
- $22 billion for Operations and Maintenance to pay for personnel and operating costs related to the ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is $2 billion below the President’s request due to lower than expected actual costs. This funding includes:
o $1 billion for the Iraq Security Forces Fund and $2.6 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces fund. This was requested by the Administration.
o $500 million in additional funds for Army Base Operating Support costs.
- $599 million in additional funds for unexpected military personnel costs due to better-than-anticipated retention.
- $1.1 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Fund.
- $35 million for improved operating room equipment at DoD medical treatment facilities.
- $792 million in additional funds for procurement of equipment, including:
o $40.5 million for 2 Special Operations MH-60 Blackhawk helicopters
o $175 million for an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft
o $175.9 million for additional heavy trucks for the Marine Corps
o $100 million for one CV-22 Osprey aircraft
o $104 million for three HH-60M Combat Search and Rescue Pavehawk Helicopters
o $200 million for National Guard and Reserve equipment
In addition, this section of the bill contains various policy provisions, including: problematic and overly weak language related to the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees, a prohibition on any permanent base in Iraq or Afghanistan, and a prohibition on the use of funds for training foreign forces that have committed gross violations of human rights.
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs –
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs portion of the Supplemental contains $529.4 million for costs related to Operation Enduring Freedom and the troop surge in Afghanistan that the President announced last year. These funding levels are equal to the President’s request. The bill includes:
- $242.3 million for the Army for airfield operations, storage facilities, infrastructure projects, planning and design costs, and fuel distribution. The bill also includes an additional $16.5 million for a new processing facility at Ft. Hood, the site of a shooting last November in which 13 people were killed.
- $279.1 million for the Air Force for projects including runways, fuel and munitions operations, storage facilities, and minor construction.
The bill also contains $13.4 billion in mandatory funding for veterans compensation and benefits for benefit claims related to the effects of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War.
Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Disaster Response –
The Supplemental contains $1.21 billion in Homeland Security and disaster assistance funding – including funds for programs that are not true emergencies and that were not requested by the Administration. Meanwhile, as we head into the summer hurricane season, FEMA is only minimally addressing immediate domestic disaster needs as they continue to wait for these much needed funds.
This Supplemental DOES NOT include the $5.1 billion requested by the Administration for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. This funding was included in a previous Supplemental that passed the House in March and is currently being considered by the Senate, but it has not yet become law.
The Homeland Security and FEMA funding in the current Supplemental includes:
- $205.6 million for emergency costs related to relief efforts for the earthquake in Haiti and the Gulf Coast oil spill. This is a slight reduction from the Administration’s request due to fewer applications from Haitian refugees.
- $500 million for border security, including funding for 1,200 new Border Patrol agents and 500 new Customs and Border Patrol officers, tactical communications, grants for local border sheriffs, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations along the Southwest border. This funding has not been officially requested by the Administration, but has received public support from the White House.
- $500 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants. These funds were not requested by the Administration, are not offset by cuts in other areas, add to the more than $750 million already sitting in FEMA’s coffers for this program, and will likely cause major funding shortfalls for local communities in the future as the funds run out and can no longer subsidize unbalanced local budgets.
State and Foreign Operations –
The State and Foreign Operation portion of the Supplemental contains $6.2 billion in funding, which is the President’s request. The bill includes:
- $1.7 billion for recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
- $1.5 billion for diplomatic operations, economic assistance, narcotics control, and “rule of law” activities such as criminal justice assistance in Afghanistan. This is $458 million below the request, due to a large amount of unspent funds for these uses already in the pipeline.
- $310 million to Pakistan for economic assistance, operations and infrastructure assistance for law enforcement activities, and human rights programs. This is $60 million below the President’s request.
- $2.2 billion for diplomatic and security operations, embassy construction, overseas protective operations, and police training in Iraq. This is $128 million above the President’s request.
- $390 million in funding for economic assistance and foreign military financing for El Salvador, Jordan, Mexico, and other countries. This was not requested by the Administration.
Labor, Health and Human Services –
This Supplemental contains just under $30 billion in funding for programs under the jurisdiction of these departments, most of which was not included in the official request for emergency funds made by the Administration. This includes:
- $23 billion for yet another bailout for state governments. This on top of billions in the “stimulus” bill passed for this purpose last year, which have proven to be ineffective at stimulating the economy. In fact, these bailouts will exacerbate state and local funding problems by spurring damaging budget pitfalls once the money has been spent. This funding was not officially requested by the Administration, but has been publicly endorsed by the President.
Democrats claim this funding will save teachers’ jobs, but there is no guarantee it will actually have this effect. Budget maneuvers could allow state governments to spend it where they please by shifting money around. Even if these dollars were used for education, it would set a dangerous precedent of expanding the role of the federal government in local schools – and diminishing the role of parents, teachers, and local communities.
- $5.7 billion in funding for a shortfall in the Pell Grant program due to revised estimates on participation rates. This was not requested by the Administration.
- $220 million in funds for medical services and evacuation costs related to the earthquake in Haiti. This is the full amount requested by the Administration.
- $48.3 million for mine safety efforts, including legal services for mine safety reviews, enforcement activities, research on underground mine refuge chambers, and additional staff for the Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to speed the clearing out of its backlog of pending cases. This funding was not requested by the Administration.
Energy and Water –
The Supplemental contains a total of $18 billion for energy loan guarantees, including $9 billion for renewable and “efficient end-use energy” technology projects, and $9 billion for nuclear energy projects. Congress already approved funding for renewable energy loan guarantees in the “stimulus” bill last year, and billions of these funds are still unobligated, so clearly there is no need for further “emergency” spending. The Supplemental also contains pages of authorization language that should be passed by the proper authorizing committees, not on a so-called “emergency” spending bill.
The Agriculture portion of the Supplemental contains $400 million in funding, including:
- $150 million for Food for Peace grants for emergency international nutrition assistance. This funding was requested by the Administration.
- $172.8 million for the Single Family Loan program to subsidize mortgages, which doubles the amount already appropriated for this program this year. This funding was not requested by the Administration, and both the Senate and the House Financial Services Committee have asked that this program be reformed so that it is “budget neutral,” which would save the taxpayers nearly $350 million per year.
- $50 million for emergency food assistance for domestic food distribution to local emergency food providers.
- $27.3 million in Farm Operating Loans. This program helps minimize the lack availability of conventional credit for farm ownership and operations. These funds were requested by the Administration.
Commerce, Justice, Science -
The bill contains $36 million in funding for the investigation, recovery, relief and legal efforts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This includes $5 million in grants for economic recovery planning, $14 million for economic assistance to fishermen and fishery-dependent businesses, $7 million for scientific investigations and sampling efforts, and $10 million for civil and criminal enforcement efforts.
Also included in the bill is $1.2 billion for state and local law enforcement hiring grants – the COPS program. This funding was not included in the request. These funds would also perpetuate budget shortfalls in state and local governments in the future, and continue the pattern of unstable budgets that could lead to devastating cutbacks once this funding runs out.
This Supplemental includes $31 million for inspections, investigations, long-term risk and chemical dispersant studies, and other Department of Interior activities related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
- The supplemental contains a total of $1.7 billion in rescissions of already approved but unspent funding. The bulk of these rescissions come from Defense and Transportation accounts.
- The Legislative Branch portion of the supplemental contains $16 million for radio upgrades for the Capitol Police, and $20 million for the Government Accountability Office for mandated oversight costs associated with the “stimulus” bill.
- The Financial Services portion of the bill includes $2.7 million for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.