11.20.17

Appropriations Vice Chair Leahy’s Summary Of Chairman’s Mark Of FY2018 Financial Services & Gen’l. Govt. Appropriations Bill

Today the Senate Appropriations Committee made public the Chairman’s Mark of the fiscal year 2018 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill.  The bill provides a total of $21.035 billion, including $159 million in disaster funds.  This funding level is $480 million less than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and nearly $2 billion less than the fiscal year 2018 President’s request. 

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, said:

“I thank Chair Capito for addressing a number of my priorities in this bill, in particular, the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and the Small Business Administration.  I commend her for addressing many agencies’ pressing needs by providing resources above the level the President requested, including for the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Truman Scholarship Foundation.

However, I am disappointed that the Senate bill includes two new riders that I don’t believe belong in this bill.  First, the bill includes a provision that effectively negates the campaign finance spending limits imposed on coordinated spending by federal candidates and party committees.  Second, the bill puts in jeopardy continued funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If the subcommittee had marked-up, I would have offered amendments to provide much-needed funding to states to protect their election systems from outside intrusions and to protect the personal data collected by the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

 I am also disappointed that funding for some key regulatory agencies falls far below the necessary levels, jeopardizing the ability of these agencies to vigorously protect markets, investors, and consumers from unscrupulous practices.  In addition, I’m concerned that no funding is provided for construction of federal buildings. 

I look forward to working with the Chair and our House counterparts as the appropriations process advances.”

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said:

“I thank Chair Capito and Ranking Member Coons for their hard work on this bill and addressing the needs of many agencies.  However, like Senator Coons, I am particularly concerned about the inclusion of policy riders that have no place in the appropriations process.  If the majority wants to rewrite campaign finance law or undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they should introduce standalone bills that the Senate can debate.  These measures should not be buried in must-pass spending bills. 

“I am also concerned with some of the drastic cuts this bill contains, including cuts to the IRS, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the GSA. I am particularly concerned that the bill does not include funding for election security grants.

“Ultimately, this bill falls short of so many urgent needs. We cannot responsibly fund the government if we do not reach a new bipartisan budget deal that lifts the reckless budget caps.  The consequences of sequestration have been devastating, and we must reach a bipartisan solution.”

Key Points & Highlights

The bill provides funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent federal agencies. 

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The bill includes $11.112 billion for the IRS, which is $124 million below the fiscal year 2017 level.  Resources for the IRS have been cut by $1 billion since fiscal year 2010, so by further cutting the IRS’ resources, the bill will deprive taxpayers of needed assistance to help comply with their tax obligations.

  • Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund

The bill provides $248 million for the CDFI Fund to promote economic and community development, equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.  The bill eliminates funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which helps support healthy food options in underserved communities.

  • District of Columbia (DC)

The bill recommends $704 million in special federal payments for over a dozen distinct purposes relating to the District of Columbia.  This is $52 million, or four percent, less than fiscal year 2017 and the same as the President’s request.   In addition to the special federal payments, the bill approves the District’s annual local operating budget.

  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The bill freezes CFTC funding at the fiscal year 2017 level of $250 million, which is the same as the President’s request.  Without additional resources, the CFTC’s ability to fully oversee the futures, options and swaps markets will be adversely impacted.

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The bill funds CPSC at $123 million, $3 million less than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.  The CPSC is the independent regulatory agency responsible for protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injury from consumer products.  At this reduced level, the agency will need to reduce employees by 22 FTEs, leave some ports unstaffed for surveillance of imports, reduce internet surveillance of retail products, delay enhancements to import surveillance technology, limit public campaigns from the outreach office, and postpone work on a long-standing rulemaking. 

  • General Services Administration (GSA)

The bill drastically reduces funding for the Federal Buildings Fund to a level of $7.810 billion, which is more than $1 billion, or 12 percent, less than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and more than $2 billion, or 22 percent, less than the budget request.  No funding is provided for construction ($790 million was requested), which will further delay ongoing projects like the FBI and DHS headquarters consolidations, thereby, making the projects more expensive.  Only $94 million is provided for repair of federal buildings ($1.444 billion was requested), which will further lengthen the backlog of needed repairs to federal buildings.

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

The bill funds OPM (non-IG) at $261 million, $1.8 million more than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $19 million or 7 percent, less than the budget request.  This level funds  OPM’s IT Modernization at substantially less than requested levels delaying progress on a critically important initiative in the wake of OPM data breaches.

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The bill includes $1.847 billion for the SEC, the same as the President’s request and $242 million above the FY 2017 level.  Funds appropriated for the SEC are fully offset with transaction fee receipts. 

  • Small Business Administration (SBA)

The bill includes $887 million for the SBA, equal to the FY 2017 level. Within this level, the bill funds SCORE at $11.5 million, an increase of $1 million above the FY 2017 level, and Small Business Development Centers at $130 million, $5 million above the FY 2017 level.  The bill also increases the cap on SBA’s 7a loan program to $29 billion, $1.5 billion above the current level.

Poison Pill Riders

  • Campaign Finance Coordinated Spending Limits:

This provision would relax campaign finance restrictions to allow significantly more spending by a candidate. Under current law, each year candidates can receive $5,400 per donor, while party committees can receive significantly more ($339,000 per donor), and there are limits on coordination between candidates and parties. The rider would allow parties to consult with candidates on advertising without that spending counting towards the candidate’s limits, effectively allowing candidates to spend significantly more money.

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Funding:

Two provisions would shift the CFPB from mandatory to discretionary funding and repeal a prohibition in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that specifically blocks the Appropriations Committees from reviewing the CFPB’s budget request. Dodd-Frank created the CFPB with an automatic funding stream, like other financial regulators, in order to protect it from being underfunded and undermined through the annual budget process.  

Coons Amendment

At each of the previous markups, Democrats offered alternative amendments that taken together would ultimately increase defense spending in fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above post-sequester spending caps, mandated by the Budget Control Act, and provide an equal increase in non-defense programs – a budget and policy approach known as “parity.” 

Had the Full Committee convened to mark up the draft bill, Senator Coons would have offered an amendment to increase investments in FSGG programs by $1.912 billion above the Senate bill level.

Highlights of the Coons Amendment:

  • $400 million for grants to States for upgrades to their election systems in a way that meets the needs of that State.
  • $30 million more for the CDFI Fund and $30 million for the SBA to strengthen our economy by increasing investment in underserved areas and helping small businesses grow.
  • $22 million more for the Treasury Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to protect the nation’s financial systems from all forms of financial crime.
  • $25 million more for the CFTC to strengthen cybersecurity.
  • $10 million more for the CPSC and $10 million more for the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers
  • $600 million more for the IRS to improve taxpayer’s services.  Resources for the IRS have been cut more than $1 billion since 2010.
  • $20 million more for the OPM to improve the protection of federal employee data in the wake of previous data breaches.
  • $30 million more for DC, including funds to reimburse DC for costs associated with the recent Presidential Inauguration for which DC has not been fully reimbursed.
  • $735 million for the GSA Federal Buildings Fund to restore the $200 million rescission of funds targeted toward a new FBI Headquarters Building, $450 million toward completion of the DHS headquarters consolidation, and $85 million to address needed major repairs to federal buildings. 

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693