Congress begins a new scramble today to pass a budget bill cutting billions of dollars in spending this year, resetting the clock on the next deadline to keep the federal government running.
Early this morning, aides completed work on an appropriations bill that cuts nearly $40 billion in spending. The committee staff have been working around the clock on the bill since House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the White House shook hands on a deal that averted a government shutdown last Friday at midnight.
The bargain makes about $27 billion in new cuts on top of roughly $12 billion that have been previously agreed to. While the Obama administration and others have described the broad outlines of the agreement, details only emerged with the release of the bill this morning.
- $1.6 billion less for the Environmental Protection Agency.
- $950 million less for Community Development Block Grants, which are given to state and local communities for a variety of programs, services and neighborhood revitalization.
- $500 million less for the Women and Infant Children nutrition program for the poor.
- $414 million less for state and local law enforcement grants.
- $600 million less for Community Health Centers.
Not every part of government received a cut. The Pentagon budget received a $5 billion increase, and other agencies and departments also received increases:
- $74 million more the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- $340 million more for Head Start, the early education program for children.
- $20 million more for humanitarian disasters and refugee assistance.
And the legislation does not include many of the so-called policy riders that complicated negotiations between the leaders. For example, the legislation does not completely defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which House Republicans had sought, although the corporation did get an $80 million cut. The bill also leaves intact the EPA's regulatory power over greenhouse gases.
The legislation does ban the use of taxpayer funds for abortions in the District of Columbia, which abortion supporters decried and opponents cheered.
The House now has three days to pass the legislation under its rules, before sending the bill to the Senate for passage. The fact that the bill wasn't completed until today scrambles the calculus, though, shortening the timeline for its passage.
The legislation could have a rocky time this week. Some liberals have decried the cuts as too draconian, while some fiscal conservatives have said the cuts don't go far enough in cutting spending.
Theo Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @temery.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.