June 28, 2017
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2018 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 other related agencies.
The bill totals $20.231 billion – $1.284 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $2.483 billion below the President’s budget request. The legislation targets resources to programs that will help boost economic growth and opportunity, protect consumers and investors, promote an efficient federal court system, and stop financial crime.
Funding for the IRS is cut by $149 million from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Under the legislation, it will also be subject to increased oversight and transparency to ensure the rights and the privacy of taxpayers are upheld, and to ensure that the agency is using its funds appropriately. Several other policy provisions aimed at reducing regulatory red tape and scaling back harmful financial requirements are also included.
“Our financial system thrives on stability, and this bill provides the funding necessary for federal regulators to do their jobs in a timely and appropriate manner, while stopping burdensome regulations before they can damage our economy irreparably,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “It also makes key investments in our courts to ensure efficiency and security, and provides funding to important programs – like small business lending – that help our economy grow and prosper.”
Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Tom Graves also commented on the legislation:
“This is a product of an open and inclusive process. My subcommittee communicated extensively with members about their requests and worked around the clock to put together a very conservative bill that aligns closely with President Trump’s budget. I’m particularly excited about the financial reforms, which slash harmful regulations, streamline outdated agency processes, and rein in the rogue Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These reforms will help spur job creation and economic growth, and blaze a clearer path for families and businesses to achieve their dreams. This bill also advances many other conservative priorities by cutting spending, zeroing out programs and maintaining pro-life policies. Overall, this bill takes a significant amount of power away from government and gives it back to Georgians and all Americans.”
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The bill provides $11.1 billion for the IRS – a cut of $149 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $111 million above the President’s budget request.
This holds the agency’s budget to below the 2008 level, however, it provides increased funds to Operations Support to strengthen cybersecurity and IRS information technology – an Administration priority. Included in the base bill are funds to support IRS’s customer service – such as phone call and correspondence response times – and funding for fraud prevention, and cybersecurity.
In addition, to address underperformance and previous poor management and decision-making at the IRS, the bill includes several provisions, such as:
- 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;
- 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 new prohibition on funds to implement new IRS guidance on conservation easements;
- A new prohibition on funds to determine church exemptions unless the IRS Commissioner has consented and Congress has been notified; and
- A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending and information technology.
Judiciary – Included in the bill is $7.09 billion for the federal courts – an increase of $167 million above the fiscal year 2017 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 $848 million for the SBA to help promote opportunities for American small businesses to begin, grow, and prosper. This includes full funding – $156 million – to support $29 billion in 7(a) and $7.5 billion in 504 small business loans.
Also included $186 million for disaster loan implementation to allow for quick loan processing turnaround when unexpected natural disasters strike, and $12 million for veterans programs.
General Services Administration (GSA) – The bill allows the GSA to spend $7.9 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund, a cut of $981 million below the fiscal year 2017 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 bill includes $20 million for a newly established Asset Proceeds and Space Management Fund. The fund will be used to reduce the inventory of civilian real property and to shrink the federal government’s property footprint.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – Included in the bill is $1.6 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) salaries and expenses, which is $3 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and equal to the budget request. The legislation targets funding to the Commission’s economics division to help the Commission better serve investors. The bill also rescinds the unobligated balances of the SEC’s Reserve Fund – a slush fund created under Dodd-Frank from which the SEC can freely spend without congressional oversight. – but provides an additional $50 million for critical information technology initiatives that were previously funded out of this fund.
In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions and reporting requirements to improve transparency, accountability, and fairness and to stop overly burdensome regulation. For example, the bill:
- Requires the OMB to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act; and
- Prohibits the agency from requiring the disclosure of political contributions in SEC filings.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The bill contains $322 million for the FCC – a cut of $35 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and equal to the request.
Executive Office of the President (EOP) – The legislation contains $688 million for the EOP, which is $21 thousand below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Within this amount, the bill provides $254 million for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and $108.8 million for other federal drug control programs.
District of Columbia – The bill contains a $695.6 million federal payment to the District of Columbia
–which is $60.7 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Within this amount, the bill targets resources on public safety and security costs and other essential services. It also includes $45 million for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR), 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;
- Maintains provisions to prohibit further marijuana legalization;
- Maintains a prohibition on federal funds from being used for needle exchanges in the District of Columbia;
- Repeals the “Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act” – continuing congressional appropriation of the District’s local funds.
ObamaCare – The bill includes provisions to stop the IRS from implementing an individual insurance mandate on the American people. The bill also includes a provision prohibiting funds to pay for an abortion or the administrative expenses in connection with a multi-state qualified health plan, with certain exceptions.
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;
- Two provisions related to Cuba: a prohibition on the importation of property confiscated by the Cuban Government, and a prohibition on funds to approve the licensing of a mark, trade name, or commercial name that was confiscated by the Cuban Government without express consent;
- A prohibition on funding for Treasury to implement a policy limiting the U.S. position on multilateral development banks engaging with developing countries on coal-fired power generation when the policy would limit exports or reduce U.S. jobs.
- Maintains the six-day mail delivery requirement for the Postal Service.
- Prohibits funds for the implementation of the Executive Order Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard.
- A prohibition related to the Federal Election Commission’s prior approval requirement for corporate trade member association PACs.
Other Provisions – The bill includes a number of provisions within Title IX which reflect language included in H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, which passed the House on June 8, 2017.
For the Subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-115hr-sc-ap-fy2018-fservices-financialservicesandgeneralgovernment.pdf