Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services Bill
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2015 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 $21.3 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $566 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the President’s request for these programs. The legislation prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system, and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.
“This bill reflects common-sense decisions to place priority on programs and services that are effective, efficient, and essential to the financial health of our nation and the federal government’s service to our people,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “In order to make these investments and to be good stewards of each and every tax dollar, the bill focuses cuts on lower-priority or poor-performing agencies – such as the scandal-plagued and inefficient Internal Revenue Service.”
“The subcommittee jurisdiction covers a diverse group of agencies and activities, including financial regulators, tax collection, the White House, federal courts, the District of Columbia, the General Services Administration, and the Small Business Administration,” Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw said. “With an allocation of $566 million less than fiscal year 2014, we have provided critical funding to support small businesses and law enforcement while reducing funding for activities that are not essential to the operations of the federal government or that have a history of wasting taxpayer resources. The bill also takes important steps to make the Administration, the Internal Revenue Service in particular, more transparent and accountable to the taxpayer,” he continued.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Included in the bill is $10.95 billion for the IRS – a cut of $341 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $1.5 billion below the President’s budget request. This will bring the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the level that was in place in fiscal year 2008. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, including taxpayer services and the proper collection of funds, but will require the agency to streamline and make better use of its budget.
In addition, due to the inappropriate actions by the IRS in targeting groups that hold certain 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 non-profit 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 awards 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 funding for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.
- A prohibition on funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.
- 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 $6.7 billion for the federal courts – an increase of $162 million above the fiscal year 2014 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 $862 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 $195 million. This is $68 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level due to a reduction in loan subsidy rates, but is sufficient to support all expected loan demand. The bill fully funds disaster loan implementation costs at $187 million to allow for a quick and efficient emergency loan process when unexpected natural disasters strike individuals and small businesses. The bill also funds Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) above the request at $115 million and Women’s Business Centers (WBC) above the request at $15 million.
General Services Administration (GSA) – The bill allows the GSA to spend $9.1 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund, a cut of $240 million below the fiscal year 2014 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 $100 million for space consolidation and $25 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 $1.4 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is $50 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $300 million below the President’s budget request. The increase in funds is targeted specifically toward critical information technology initiatives. The legislation also includes a prohibition on the SEC spending any money out of its “reserve fund” – essentially a slush fund for the SEC to use without any congressional oversight.
In addition, the legislation contains requirements for the Administration to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act, and a prohibition on funding to require political donation information in SEC filings.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – The bill includes a provision to change the funding source for the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the congressional appropriations process, starting in fiscal year 2016. Currently, funding for this agency is provided by mandatory spending and is not subject to annual congressional review. 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 $118 million in the bill, which is the same as the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $5 million below the request.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The bill contains $323 million for the FCC – a cut of $17 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $53 million below the request.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – The bill provides $293 million for the FTC, which is $5 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level.
Executive Office of the President (EOP) – The legislation contains $674 million for the EOP – essentially the same as the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. The bill denies the President’s proposed cuts to drug control efforts, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities programs. The bill also includes a requirement that the Office of Management and Budget submit the President’s budget request on time – or face a withholding of approximately seven months of their budget until the request is sent. In addition, the bill contains a prohibition on funding for the EOP to prepare signing statements and Executive Orders that contradict existing law.
District of Columbia – The bill contains a $637 million federal payment to the District of Columbia – a reduction of $37 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $66 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 a longstanding provision prohibiting federal and local funds from being used for abortion, and prohibitions on federal funds from being used for needle exchange and medical marijuana programs in the District of Columbia. The bill also allows the city to spend its local funds in fiscal year 2016 in the unlikely event of a federal shutdown under the terms and conditions provided in this bill.
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; and
- A prohibition on funds for an increase in pay for the Vice President and other senior political appointees.
For the Subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2015-FServices-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf